Jury acquits accused in 1977 St. Paul murder

Published 8:15 am Friday, October 22, 2010

ST. PAUL — A Ramsey County jury has acquitted a Minneapolis man who stood trial in the 1977 killing of a man in a St. Paul apartment.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that 60-year-old Richard Ireland smiled and hugged his attorney after his verdict was read Thursday. Ireland was charged last year on the strength of DNA evidence that authorities say linked him to the 33-year-old murder of 30-year-old Martin Shemukenas, who was tied up, stabbed and mutilated in his own apartment.

Prosecutors say Ireland’s DNA and fingerprints were found at the blood-soaked scene, but his defense attorney says both pieces of evidence were questionable.

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The victim’s sister tells the newspaper she still believes Ireland is guilty.