Guilty Plea For ‘Dice Game’ Murder in Downtown Rochester
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - There was a surprise guilty plea today from the man accused of killing a Rochester man during an argument over a dice game.
29-year-old Derek Days entered into a plea agreement this morning and admitted to a second-degree murder charge and a second-degree assault charge stemming from the shooting death of 28-year-old Todd Banks Jr. and the critical wounding of another man during an altercation in downtown Rochester in the early morning hours of June 6th of last year. Days had been scheduled to go to trial on the charges later this month.
Days was accused of opening fire after a fight broke out among a group of people playing dice on the sidewalk outside the entrance to the city parking ramp at the corner of 1st Avenue and 3rd Street Southwest. The criminal complaint says a video recording from nearby surveillance cameras captured images of Days pulling out a handgun and firing it at the critically wounded victim at close range. He then approached Banks, who was engaged in a struggle with another man, and fired multiple bullets at him while he was on the sidewalk.
Days then fled the scene but was apprehended later the same day after a police investigator recognized the South St. Paul man as a person he had previously encountered during a drug investigation. Using surveillance video from an apartment building, the investigator was able to place Days in the passenger seat of a vehicle seen leaving the apartment complex and he was arrested following a high-risk traffic stop.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Olmsted County prosecutors agreed to dismiss another felony assault charge and an illegal weapons charge. Prosecutors also agreed to follow state sentencing guidelines and request a maximum of 35 1/2 years in prison. The conviction carries a maximum sentence of 40 years.
A second man charged in the case is currently scheduled to stand trial next month. 23-year-old Nautica Cox is charged with two counts of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree attempted murder, along with illegal possession of a firearm. The criminal complaint against Cox indicates a Rochester police officer on patrol near the site of the fatal shooting witnessed the Minneapolis man firing a gun at the group of people gathered for the dice game. The officer then chased Cox and was able to apprehend him in a nearby alley.