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Stephon Shannon sentenced to 28 years in Nizzel George murder

Stephon Shannon sentenced to 28 years in Nizzel George murder
Nizzel George was fatally shot last summer while sleeping at his grandmother's house.

A judge sentenced a north Minneapolis teenager to 28 years in prison today for the murder of Nizzel George, a 5-year-old shot while sleeping on his grandmother's couch last summer.

Stephon Shannon, 17, was indicted last August on multiple counts related to the slaying, including first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder.

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His trial was slated to begin Feb. 14, but Shannon pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in association with a gang last week.

Shannon admitted that police had obtained photos identifying him as a gang member and intercepted incriminating mail sent from prison, according to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office. Confessing to the murder being associated with a gang automatically added at least two years to the sentence.

Prosecutors say Shannon meant to hit somebody when he shot up the home, but did not intentionally shoot George.

George's murder occurred during a summer pocked with headline-grabbing incidents of youth violence, and it still resonates throughout the city. President Barack Obama spoke about the case during his visit to the North Side Monday, held just blocks from the site of the tragedy.

In addition to Shannon, witnesses also identified a second suspect, known as "Funny Mo," according to the charges.

For more on youth violence in Minneapolis, read our cover story on the subject from last August here.


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