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Friday - February 16, 2018 2:34 am

Prosecutor in Winona murder trial says jury didn't believe suspect's story

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Winona Courthouse Winona Courthouse

Around 60 witnesses helped lead to a guilty verdict of first-degree murder in Winona.

Ricky Waiters tried to claim self defense as his reasoning for a drive-by shooting that killed one man and wounded another outside EB's Corner Bar back in 2016. The drive-by occurred after an argument over a parking space.

The prosecutor who tried Waiters said the crime scene evidence was stronger than the story Waiters told. Those witnesses helped disprove the claim by Waiters that he was threatened by Robert Johnson, who was shot and killed in the attack. 

Waiters had claimed that Johnson came into the street and threatened him, but evidence showed Johnson wasn't on the street when he was shot.

"If Mr. Waiters claim was to be believed there should have been a lot more blood on the street and there wasn't any," Winona County Attorney Karin Sonneman said.

Sonneman said his self-defense claim might have worked, if Waiters hadn't made up a story about a car blocking his way so he couldn't leave the area.

Sonneman noted that Johnson was killed while standing on grass, a distance from the car where Waiters fired at a crowd outside the bar.

The 14-day trial ended with Waiters guilty of nine criminal counts. Waiters faces a mandatory life sentence when he returns to court in April, though Sonneman said he could be given a chance for parole.


Brad Williams

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from U-W-La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area.  Brad writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse.  He's been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.  

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