A Dakota County jury on Wednesday convicted a Minneapolis man of first-degree and second-degree murder in connection with a fatal shooting during a January drug deal in Inver Grove Heights.
Prosecutors had earlier charged Gabriel Alfonso Sanchez Cruz, 44, in the Jan. 31 killing of 38-year-old Bryant Jon Lutgens of Burnsville.
According to a criminal complaint, Lutgens was shot in the head by a drug buyer and left in a snowbank. The shooter then took off in the vehicle Lutgens had been driving. Sanchez Crus was arrested a few days later after he led Minneapolis police on a short chase before crashing Lutgens’ rented vehicle.
The jury in Sanchez Cruz’s trial deliberated about two hours before reaching a verdict. He is being held in the Dakota County Jail pending sentencing on July 12.
Those convicted of first-degree murder could face a life sentence without parole, while those convicted of second-degree murder face up to 40 years in prison.