Andre Steward and Willis Richardson murdered Mpls homeless man for $5, police say

A juvenile and adult male allegedly killed Harry Lee Brown for five bucks.
A juvenile and adult male allegedly killed Harry Lee Brown for five bucks.

Andre Steward told police he "needed some money to have a good time." His way of getting it? Beating a homeless man to death for the $5 bill in his pocket.

Yesterday, Steward, 17 (he's being tried as an adult), and Willis Richardson, 23, were charged with second-degree murder in connection with the June 29 robbery and murder of Harry Lee Brown, who was a 50-year-old homeless man.

At around 9:20 p.m. on June 29, Minneapolis officers were called to 18th Street and Bryant Avenue North on a report of a man lying on the ground. The criminal complaint says "officers learned that a group of black males was observed in the area and was believed to be involved in an assault of H.L.B." One of the men in the group, characterized in the criminal complaint as Witness A, told police that before the assault, Richardson was carrying a baseball bat and discussing a "stain," which is slang for robbery.

Witness A told police the group was walking in the area of 18th and Bryant when they saw Brown toting a liquor bag and "minding his own business." The witness watched Richardson approach Brown and hit him in the legs with the bat. Both Richardson and Steward then began pummeling Brown with punches to the head before reaching in his pocket and taking $5.

Another witness in the group told police he then saw Brown lay down and "go to sleep." Steward and Richardson, meanwhile, took the $5 bill to a nearby liquor store and bought a bottle of booze. They were later arrested (their mugshots haven't yet been released).

Under questioning on July 5, Steward admitted to the assault and robbery and told police he was worried he and Richardson could have killed Brown. For his part, Richardson admitted to hitting Brown with a bat, though he told police that Steward was the only one who reached into Brown's pants and took his money.

Brown was removed from life support on July 7. He died the next day. Blunt force trauma was cited as the cause of death.

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