Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Nathan Wesley Mcdonald, age 23 of Oakdale, and Terrell Theo Payne, age 19 of Little Canada, have been indicted by a Dakota County Grant Jury in connection with the July 9, 2019 fatal shooting of 21-year-old Lawrence Terrance Renfro at an apartment where he resided in West St. Paul. The Dakota County Grand Jury has issued an indictment charging* Mcdonald and Payne with one count each of Murder in the First Degree (Premeditated-Aiding and Abetting), and Murder in the Second Degree (Intentional-Aiding and Abetting).
A summary of some of the allegations previously contained in the criminal complaint filed August 1, 2019 is set forth below:
On the morning of July 9, 2019, a friend of Lawrence Renfro went to the apartment where Renfro was then residing when he couldn't reach him by telephone. The friend found the door to Renfro's ground floor patio locked and when no one answered, he walked to the bedroom window where he found the screen damaged. He entered through the window and found the deceased Renfro on a couch in the living room with Renfro's 2-year-old child sitting next to him. The friend took the child, exited the apartment and called police.
During a search of the apartment, five 9mm casings were located. An autopsy was conducted of Renfro and it was determined that he suffered 5 gunshot wounds, including one to his head.
Through investigation, it was learned that the apartment in which Renfro was killed was leased to Mcdonald's sister who had resided with Renfro in the apartment until she moved out after a “falling out" between them. Mcdonald's sister told police that she and Renfro had argued prior to her moving out of the apartment on July 8, 2019.
A surveillance video obtained during the investigation showed a gray colored sedan drive through the apartment complex parking lot several times around 3:45 a.m. on July 9th. It was determined that the sedan was a 2008 Chevrolet Malibu, the same vehicle type registered to Mcdonald. Additional surveillance video from inside the apartment building showed two males dressed in dark clothing with hooded sweatshirts and covered faces, enter the vestibule, walk up to the locked security door and then exit the building, walking towards the outside of Renfro's ground floor apartment.
After his arrest on July 30, 2019, Payne told police that he and Mcdonald had gone to Renfro's apartment the morning of July 9th in Mcdonald's Chevy Malibu, and that after walking into the apartment complex they exited and went through the bedroom window of Renfro's apartment. Payne said Renfro woke up, told them to “get out of here", after which Mcdonald shot Renfro multiple times.
Additional facts pertaining to this case can be found in the criminal complaint at Criminal Complaint Search. While in custody, a mug shot can be viewed at Inmate Search.
Backstrom commented: “Minnesota law requires a grand jury to return an indictment before a case of First Degree Murder can be prosecuted. Our deepest sympathy is extended to the family and friends of Lawrence Renfro."
Backstrom thanked the West St. Paul Police Department for their thorough investigation of this case. Backstrom also thanked the Oakdale Police Department, the Washington County SWAT Team, and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for their assistance in this investigation.
Both Mcdonald and Payne remain in custody in connection with the prior murder charges filed by the County Attorney's Office. These indictments will replace the prior charges filed in this case. Their first appearance on the indictments by the grand jury will be scheduled for sometime next week.
If you have questions, contact James Backstrom at 651-438-4440.
*Criminal charges are not evidence of guilt. A defendant/suspect is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.