Eastern Minn. 17-year-old allegedly killed man over $180 marijuana debt
PINE CITY, Minn.-A Pine City teen, irate over being ripped off in a marijuana transaction, retaliated by opening fire on a 22-year-old dealer, fatally wounding him in a confrontation over a $180 debt, according to court documents.Patrick James Ro...
PINE CITY, Minn.-A Pine City teen, irate over being ripped off in a marijuana transaction, retaliated by opening fire on a 22-year-old dealer, fatally wounding him in a confrontation over a $180 debt, according to court documents.
Patrick James Root, 17, was charged in juvenile court last week with two counts of second-degree murder in the death of Timothy Cary Hughes, who was gunned down in a Pine City mobile home park on Aug. 4.
Pine City is between Duluth and the Twin Cities in the far eastern part of the state.
Authorities said Root confronted Hughes about two hours after he was swindled in a marijuana deal. Hughes reportedly told an acquaintance that he sold Root an empty wad of paper because the teen owed him money.
There were at least a half-dozen witnesses to the encounter, according to the juvenile delinquency petition. Root allegedly admitted that he shot Hughes because the victim "kept coming at me saying shoot me, shoot me."
The Pine County Attorney's Office has filed a motion to have Root certified as an adult. Under Minnesota law, it is presumed a child will be certified as an adult if the defendant was 16 or 17 at the time of the offense, and if the offense would result in a presumptive commitment to prison under sentencing guidelines.
Root remains in custody and is due back in court on Thursday.
According to the petition:
Pine County deputies were called to the Pine Terrace Mobile Home Park just before 5 p.m. on Aug. 4 and found Hughes on the ground. He was pronounced dead at the scene from gunshot wounds to the chin, back, upper thigh and buttocks.
Witnesses identified Root as the shooter and said he was a front-seat passenger in another vehicle that had left the scene.
A juvenile, identified in the complaint as Witness 1, told deputies that Hughes had sold Root some rolled-up toilet paper around 3 p.m. that afternoon. Believing it to contain marijuana, Root paid Hughes $180 and only later discovered it was empty.
Root began sending Hughes Facebook messages demanding to know where the marijuana was and threatening to kill him.
Root and several other juveniles arrived at Witness 1's residence at the mobile home park. Witness 1 said he heard Root yelling at Hughes, "wondering where his money was," before he allegedly produced a handgun and shot Hughes.
Another juvenile, identified as Witness 2, said Hughes told him earlier that day that he "ripped off" Root because the teen owed him money. He also reported seeing the confrontation the shooting.
"Witness 2 heard Hughes tell Defendant to shoot him and that he did not have the 'balls' to do it," the petition said. "Defendant shot Hughes, and Witness 2 heard Hughes say, 'You guys hit me actually.' "
Investigators made contact with the driver and three other passengers who traveled to the scene with Root. All provided similar accounts of the failed drug deal and the confrontation that lead to the shooting. They also admitted to stopping at a store in Mora, where they purchased wipes and helped Root clean the car of potential evidence.
Root, when apprehended by law enforcement, allegedly told police initially that he was at the Pine County Fair at the time of the incident. But when confronted with evidence, investigators said he admitted to shooting Hughes.
"He said he shot Hughes because he 'stole my f---ing money and then he kept coming at me saying shoot me, shoot me,' " the petition said. "His first shot was a warning shot but he said Hughes kept coming. The next shots he was aiming at his chest."
Investigators said Root admitted the gun was stolen and that he discarded it on a "random road." The weapon was recovered from Contrast Road, northwest of Pine City, with the assistance of two of the acquaintances who were in the car with Root.