Jury convicts 17-year-old in Ray Widstrand assault


After just a few hours of deliberations, a Ramsey County District Court jury convicted a St. Paul teenager in the near-fatal beating of Ray Widstrand on the city's east side.

FOX 9 reported that Cindarion Butler, 17, had been charged with assault, aggravated robbery and two counts of committing a crime for the benefit of a gang in connection with the attack. The jury on Tuesday found him guilty on the first two charges but acquitted him of the last two. Butler had been certified to stand trial as an adult and did not take the stand in his own defense.

The Pioneer Press reported that the jury, which deliberated about four hours, determined that the crime involved "aggravating" factors. That could increase the punishment Butler will face when he is sentenced before Judge Joanne Smith in March. The newspaper reported that Butler tugged at his collar and hair but did not otherwise react as the verdicts were read.

KSTP reported that graphic photos of Widstrand on the ground in a pool of blood following the August attack were shown to the jury in closing arguments.

Last Friday, Widstrand joined family members in the courtroom during a morning break when the jury was not present. It created a stir and the defense attorney objected to his presence, calling it inflammatory.

Widstrand, 27, was walking home from work on Aug. 4 when he came upon a group of people fighting in the street near his home. He was beaten and knocked unconscious. Police called the brawl gang-related and said those arrested were known members of the East Side Boys or the Ham Crazy Gang. A total of 5 teenagers were charged in the case.

Widstrand continues therapy after undergoing multiple surgeries. He's still recovering from a brain injury and missing part of his skull. He was at the court house on Tuesday with his parents. Speaking in a halting voice, Widstrand told reporters he was improving.

"My recovery's going good," he said. "Another week I'll have the mobile IV out, and I'll start going to outpatient therapy next week."

Last year, Isaac Maiden, 19, was acquitted of charges against him. In October, a 15-year-old St. Paul boy was given an adult sentence of 103 months that was stayed after he pleaded guilty to first-degree felony assault and agreed to testify. He will serve between 18 and 24 months and will be under enhanced supervision until he turns 21.

A second 15-year-old will face an adult certification hearing on Wednesday in juvenile court. He is also charged with first-degree assault, aggravated robbery and two counts of crime for the benefit of a gang.

Next Up


Mall of America is offering a virtual Santa experience this year

People can virtually tour Santa's Candy Cane Institute.

PD Shimmers 4

Annual guide to finding holiday lights displays in MN is released

More than 80 holiday displays are on this year's list.

duluth police department

Duluth police officer charged in September shooting

The officer, who is a five-year veteran, is charged with two felonies.

Screen Shot 2020-11-30 at 1.31.42 PM

Enbridge gets final approval to start construction on Line 3 replacement

The project has attracted criticism from environmental and tribal groups.

Kirk Cousins

Is it a 4-team race for the final NFC playoff spot?

The key for Minnesota likely requires winning on the road against two top NFC teams.


Nov. 30 COVID-19 update: Hospitalizations reach new high mark

There are fewer than 100 staffed ICU beds available in Minnesota.

TCF Bank Stadium

Saturday's Gophers-Northwestern game canceled

Minnesota is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak in its football program.

frances mosley vandals

Minneapolis woman's home vandalized for a 7th time since March

The most recent incident happened on Thanksgiving.

Grand Cafe

Jamie Malone's Grand Cafe is closing, building owners say

Head chef Jamie Malone will continue operations at Eastside.