Minneapolis man pleads guilty to charges for Whittier homicide

A 19-year-old man agreed to plead guilty Wednesday to murder charges for the shooting death of another 19-year-old man in the Stevens Square neighborhood in May, according to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.

The murder case was about to go to trial. Eugene Watkins of Minneapolis is facing a 30-year prison sentence for the shooting death of Jason Adams who grew up in the Armatage neighborhood. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 7.

According to the criminal complaint, Watkins went to an apartment at 2101 3rd Ave. S. on May 6 around 3:30 p.m. with two other men to buy marijuana from Adams. Once inside the apartment, Watkins pulled out a gun and told one of Adams’ friends to hand over all of the marijuana. Adams then pulled out a gun and the two men starting shooting at one another.

Watkins was also wounded and later arrested at the hospital. Adams was taken to HCMC where he later died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner.

In May, Armatage resident Denis Houle, a neighbor of Adams’ family, told the Southwest Journal that his son grew up playing basketball with Adams. “Jordan was a really nice kid,” he said. “He was definitely the best player on the team. There was never a reason to think that anything like this was going to happen.”

Watkins was charged with second-degree murder — a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

Minneapolis had 49 homicides in 2015, up from 32 in 2014, according to police records.