Man sentenced in St. Paul marijuana deal that turned deadly

19 July 2023

A judge sentenced a St. Paul man Wednesday to 19 years in prison for killing a 33-year-old man during a marijuana deal in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood.

Kemarri Miller Roan, 19, reached a plea agreement with the prosecution in May, admitting he shot Michael Alexander Pleasants in the back of the head in the 200 block of Bates Avenue in April 2022.

Kemarri Miller Roan (Courtesy of the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office)

Roan’s co-defendant, Traivon Dennis Campbell, 22, of St. Paul, pleaded guilty in January to second-degree unintentional murder. He agreed to a term of 10 years and six months, and to testify against Roan if there was a trial. Campbell is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 19.

Roan’s guilty plea to second-degree intentional murder was reached a month before a jury trial was scheduled to begin, and included the 230-month prison term handed down Wednesday. He received credit for 447 days already served in custody.

Evidence: Video, text messages

Officers sent to the area at 12:05 a.m. on April 26, 2022, on a report of a gunshot found Pleasants lying in the street next to a car. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

Surveillance video from the area showed Pleasants standing with two men and he handed one of them a brown bag, according to the criminal complaints. The camera panned away and, when it returned, Pleasants was on the ground.

Investigators discovered Campbell and Pleasants had been texting shorty before Pleasants was killed. Campbell asked Pleasants if he had marijuana available in $100 quantities, and Pleasants replied he only had a pound and would sell it for $1,300, the criminal complaints said.

When investigators “confronted” Campbell with the messages he had sent Pleasants and surveillance photos of the two men who approached Pleasants’ car, “Campbell became visibly upset, cried, and said, ‘I didn’t know he was going to do that.’ Campbell said (Pleasants) didn’t deserve what happened to him,” according to the complaints.

He said Roan made a comment as they approached Pleasants, but he didn’t think he was serious about shooting him, according to the complaints.

Campbell said that after Pleasants handed the bag to him, he “saw a look of surprise” on Pleasants’ face and then heard the gunshot. Campbell said that he and Roan ran, and the two of them then divided the marijuana.

Traivon Dennis Campbell (Courtesy of the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office)

Roan told investigators he’d never seen Pleasants before and he hadn’t been anywhere near the murder scene. But Roan’s girlfriend told police she heard him on the phone with Campbell that night and Campbell “repeatedly” asked Roan to go with him, the complaints said.

“Roan said the marijuana seller was acting weird when Campbell and he got there,” the complaint continued of his girlfriend’s account. “Roan said the seller tried to take the money and not give them the weed.”

Roan didn’t tell his girlfriend what happened next, but said “he was scared and it happened so fast.” He said Campbell took the marijuana from Pleasants’ car.

Officers found a note in the trash at Roan’s home that read, “I had to earth a (man) last night don’t ask why too many things are running.” His girlfriend told investigators that he wrote her the note.

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