A St. Louis teen who went on a shooting rampage in Franklin County last year has pleaded guilty to charges in the case.
Xavier Minden, 19, entered the guilty pleas Tuesday afternoon in circuit court.
Circuit Judge Ike Lamke has scheduled a sentencing hearing for 1 p.m. Friday, May 10.
Minden originally was charged with first-degree assault, armed criminal action, first-degree burglary and discharging a firearm from a vehicle at a person or habitable structure in connection with an incident at Stanton Monday, Feb. 6, 2012.
Under a plea agreement, the first-degree assault charge was amended to second-degree assault and the state will dismiss the armed criminal action charge, Prosecuting Attorney Bob Parks said.
Parks said his office is recommending a seven-year sentence on the assault charge and a cap of ten years on each of the other charges.
Judge Lamke ordered a sentencing assessment report prepared in the case.
Minden has been free on bond, with certain conditions, since last March.
The teen is accused of firing a handgun at a Stanton area man shortly before 6:30 p.m. Feb. 6, 2012, as he drove on Highway W, south of Interstate 44. Following the shooting, Minden allegedly broke into a cabin at the Meramec Caverns where a caretaker was staying. Minden was taken into custody later without incident after a hostage negotiator with the sheriff’s office convinced him to surrender.
The female caretaker told deputies that when the suspect entered the cabin he did not threaten her and allowed her to leave, but she said he was threatening to kill himself.
Investigators said a total of 19 shots were fired, including nine by the suspect and the others by the targeted victim and a neighbor.
The victim, a county resident who lives on Highway W, told detectives that he was driving south on Highway W behind the suspect who was driving very slowly. The man said he passed the car when the suspect pulled off at the KOA campground and then pulled into his driveway. He got out to get his mail, as was his usual routine, when he heard a popping noise and his truck’s windshield shattering. He took his two sons, a 4-year-old and an infant, into the house, got a handgun then went back outside and exchanged gunfire with the suspect who had turned around and was driving north back toward Interstate 44. At that point a neighbor came out with a shotgun and fired twice at the suspect’s car.
No one was injured in the exchange.
The suspect then turned around and drove back south toward Meramec Caverns. Highway patrol troopers found the car abandoned near a gate to the caverns but no one was around, according to reports.
While searching the area, a deputy saw the suspect kick open the door to a cabin near the caverns. A deputy later saw Minden inside the cabin holding the handgun to his chin. That’s when officers backed off and called in the negotiator.