Split verdict in 2015 murder of Susan Spiller in Minneapolis

It's been nearly seven years since local artist and activist Susan Spiller was found stabbed to death in her own bedroom. Now the jury must deliberate the fate of Demetrious Wynne, who has been charged with her murder.

The jury returned a split verdict in the 2015 north Minneapolis murder of Susan Spiller. Demetrius Wynne, who was 14 years old at the time of Spiller’s murder, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and certified to stand trial as an adult in this case.

The jury found Wynne guilty of second-degree murder with intent, not premeditated. They found him not guilty of second-degree murder without intent, while committing a felony.

Earlier Tuesday, the jury informed the court they couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict on the count of second-degree murder with intent. The judge told them to continue deliberations. The case went to the jury on Monday, when they deliberated for about four hours.

The state has argued there is no doubt Wynne, Spillers next door neighbor, killed her. But his defense has countered that there is reasonable doubt all over the case, and prosecutors have the wrong suspect.

Spiller’s friends were in court Monday for closing arguments, and a sense of justice. Ann Moe wore some of the jewelry Spiller created before she was viciously stabbed and strangled to death.

The question the jury must answer is where or not it was Wynne who broke into Spiller’s home. Evidence revealed his fingerprint was a perfect match at the point of entry, and prosecutors claimed DNA was found under Spiller’s fingernails.

But Wynne took the stand in his own defense last week, explaining the reason why his DNA would have been found under Spiller’s fingernails is that he had caught the 68-year-old when she had tripped earlier that day.

During closing arguments, Wynne’s defense attorney raised the possibility that police arrested the wrong guy.

"I felt like they were waiting and said he'll be in the system eventually," said attorney Ira Whitlock "You do the best you can for these kids, man, and you let the chips fall where they may. Obviously, I'm hoping for such an outcome, but it's in the jury's hands now and I trust our process."

Despite his age of 14 at the time, Wynne was certified as an adult.

"I think everybody knows what a wonderful person Susan was, and then it was really hard to sit in there and hear them try to refute that… it's been a long time coming," Spiller’s friend Connie Beckers said. "I think she left her mark on the community and I think anybody who knows her knows that this it shouldn't have happened."