Christopher Hayes charged in Christopher DeRonde's murder

Categories: Homicide Files

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Christopher James Hayes
Christopher James Hayes has been charged with second degree murder in the wake of Christopher DeRonde's homicide on Sept. 17th in North Minneapolis.

Michael James Funches has been charged with accessory after the fact.

According to the complaint, 28-year-old DeRonde was dead on the sidewalk when the cops got there that morning, barefoot and laying on his back with a gunshot wound to the torso. Nearby, they found his shoes, a cell phone, a baseball cap, package of Cigarillos and some baggies of pot.

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Michael James Funches
They also found a child's car booster seat.

Piecing witness statements together later, investigators figured out that he'd been shot while sitting in the back seat of a red Dodge Intrepid, and had managed to stagger to the sidewalk before dying.

Surveillance technology helped them trace the car. A shot-spotter camera in the neighborhood picked up the gunfire at 11:46 a.m., swiveled around to record video on 30th Avenue, and the Intrepid was caught on tape. Then it was seen by a Safe Zone camera further away, where 30th crosses Lyndale Avenue North.

It turned out that the car was owned by 22-year-old Funches' girlfriend. And that booster seat belonged to her.

Funches came forward voluntarily and told police he'd driven his girlfriend to work that day, and then spent the morning cruising around town with friends and relatives, including 23-year-old Hayes. Then he'd met up with her again for lunch.

More surveillance video put DeRonde in the Emerson market at 2628 Emerson Avenue N. that morning, buying the Cigarillos.

Funches, when shown a photo of DeRonde, at first denied knowing him. Then he admitted buying pot from DeRonde, but a few days prior to the day of the murder. And he insisted he never killed anyone, and the car was never near the murder scene.

But the booster seat -- and the body -- led back to the crime.

Police tracked down other people who'd been in the Intrepid that morning who said they remembered seeing the booster seat in the car. And Funches said the car had never been out of his possession all morning.

So the cops believed they had Funches, and the car, at the scene, with DeRonde. But who killed DeRonde?

According to the complaint, a witness picked Hayes out of a photo lineup, and placed him in the driver's seat of the Intrepid at the time of the murder. Right before the shot rang out, he was turned around and pointing a gun at DeRonde, who was sitting in the back seat, next to Funches.

Hayes and Funches were arrested on Thursday and charged on Friday.

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