Last summer, Tristan Keys was charged with first-degree manslaughter for allegedly killing 53-year-old Lamar Wilson with a single punch in the parking lot of the Stop N Shop near West 31st Street and 1st Avenue South in south Minneapolis. (Read the backstory here.)
Keys, 22, was sentenced to 81 months in prison in connection with that incident yesterday, but he never admitted to actually punching Wilson. Instead, he pleaded guilty to lesser charges of aiding an offender after the fact and second-degree drug possession.
During yesterday's sentencing hearing, Keys maintained he wasn't actually the one who punched Wilson, telling Wilson's sister and wife, "You seem like God-fearing people, [and] as God is my witness, I did not lay a hand on him," according to information provided by Hennepin County.
The beef between Keys and Wilson was over alleged snitching. According to investigators, Wilson was checking the lights on his vehicle at the gas station when an SUV pulled up. One of the SUV's occupants got out accused Wilson of snitching and then punched him a single time in the head, sending him crumpling to the concrete "like a rag doll," witnesses said.
Wilson was pronounced dead the next day.
Yesterday, Keys admitted to no more than driving the SUV away from the scene of the crime afterward.
"So you know who did it?" Judge Holton Dimick asked Keys. He replied that yes, he did, though he wouldn't name names.
"What is your responsibility there?" Dimick said. "Our communities are being ruined... You have to take responsibility to where your actions change."