Swing and another miss

A murder in Lakeville on Sunday evening further demonstrated the inability of our criminal justice system to ensure public safety under its current self-imposed sentencing limitations. 

Donte R. McCray, 32, of St. Louis Park shot and killed the mother of his children, including an unborn child, after the couple spent the day arguing over his infidelity. An emergency C-Section was performed at HCMC and the unborn child was saved.

The Dakota County Attorney charged McCray with 2nd-degree murder for the shooting death of Kyla O’Neal, 31, which happened in the parking lot of the Amazon Warehouse in Lakeville where McCray was employed. McCray admitted to police that the two had been arguing much of the day and that he pointed a pistol at O’Neal and pulled the trigger, but claimed he thought the gun was empty.

Read the formal complaint here.

Unfortunately for O’Neal, her children, and all Minnesotans, our criminal justice system showed its weakness when it recently failed to hold McCray accountable for his May 2022 conviction involving a firearm in Hennepin County. Instead of confinement, McCray was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to forfeit his weapons and not possess any firearms — completely toothless. 

Now a woman is dead, and two children will be raised without parents — one dead, and one imprisoned. 

We need to reject the narrative that we are in an over-incarceration crisis and begin incapacitating those who have shown a propensity for violence. Incapacitation through imprisonment is the only sure way to prevent further criminal conduct.

Unfortunately, under the current criminal justice system mindset, anyone suggesting more imprisonment is quickly dismissed as a “hard-liner” who is out of touch with the realities and fiscal limits of such a proposal. 

All while we scratch our heads over the lawlessness that pervades our communities today. Sad.