Hennepin County’s success
The county’s effective use of resources for the mentally ill and chemical dependent is a cause for celebration.
It’s become all too common — criminals under court and correctional control remaining free to commit horrendous crimes of violence. The latest example comes from Friday night’s murder at the Mall of America.
Deandre Depratto, 18, is one of five people in custody for the shooting death of Johntae Hudson, 19. The murder happened inside Nordstrom’s at the Mall of America during one of the mall’s busiest shopping days. All five fled the scene, reportedly stopped at White Castle for take-out burgers, and ended up at an apartment in St. Louis Park where police arrested them early Saturday morning.
A review of state court records reveals troubling information that has become all too common — Depratto was under court and correctional control at the time of the murder. The reason? A few months before the MOA murder, Depratto had fled police in a stolen car that had been carjacked at gunpoint just blocks from his mother’s house days earlier. The details of the case and the impotent response from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office and Hennepin County District Court follow.
On July 31, 2022, just a few blocks from Depratto’s mother’s house in north Minneapolis, a woman was sitting in a car when two men approached. One put a gun to her neck and ordered her out. The men then forcibly took the car and fled the scene. The carjacking was reported to police and the car was entered into the stolen vehicle database.
On August 5, 2022, a state trooper spotted the stolen vehicle going over 90 mph on I-94 in St. Paul — Depratto was the driver and two others were with him. The trooper attempted to stop the vehicle, but it continued on at 90+ MPH until another trooper was able to disable it with a device that deflates the tires. Despite deflated tires, Depratto continued to try and evade the police until he lost control and slammed into a cement abutment. Depratto then attempted to change seats with one of the other occupants.
On August 8, 2022, the Ramsey County Attorney filed a delinquency petition against Depratto, who was a few months shy of his 18th birthday. Depratto was charged with Possession of a Stolen Vehicle and Fleeing Police in a Motor Vehicle. The case was immediately transferred to Hennepin County, due to Depratto’s residency there.
On August 9, 2022, Hennepin County immediately dismissed the Fleeing Charge (no reason documented in court records) and set a hearing date for the Possession of a Stolen Vehicle. There is no mention of attempts to connect or rule out Depratto’s involvement in the carjacking.
On September 12, Hennepin County District Court Judge Hatcher accepted Depratto’s guilty plea to possessing the stolen vehicle and advised Depratto that his punishment was a stayed adjudication of guilt pending for 180 days, during which time he was to pay restitution as determined by Hennepin County Community Corrections.
Judge Hatcher ordered that if Depratto did not pay the restitution in the 180 days, the restitution would turn to a judgment against him, and his case would be dismissed.
Community Corrections determined the restitution that Depratto should pay was the amount of insurance deductible the victim had to pay — $500. As of 12/27/22, per court records, Depratto has not paid a cent of the absurdly low restitution.
Despite Community Corrections receiving “return to sender” correspondence back from Depratto’s residence, there has been no attempt to violate Depratto for failing to abide by his probation conditions.
The criminal justice system failed us, failed Johntae Hudson, failed the thousands of shoppers put on lockdown at MOA, failed the businesses that will be impacted by the sensed lack of safety at MOA, and ultimately failed Depratto, by teaching him there are no consequences to his actions.
Of course, the criminal justice system shouldn’t have to be Depratto’s parent, but in an all too common storyline, Depratto’s father, identified in court documents as Deandre Depratto Sr., has not been the role model Depratto needed.
Depratto Sr. has been found delinquent and ordered by courts in two counties to provide child support for his children, whom he did not live with. He has also been convicted of 43 charges ranging from misdemeanor traffic violations up to felony level-controlled substance crimes.
The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree — whether that tree is a bad parent or a lax court system.
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