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Associated Press, Published July 10 2012

2 charged in beating death of homeless man; charges say assailants stole $5 from man

MINNEAPOLIS — A Minneapolis man and a Richfield teenager were looking to rob someone on a Friday night when they saw a homeless man and beat him with a baseball bat and fists — then stole $5 from his pockets to buy liquor as he lay on the sidewalk dying, according to murder charges made public Tuesday.

Willis Esposito Richardson, 23, and a 17-year-old boy were each charged Monday with one count of aiding and abetting second-degree murder in the death of Harry Lee Brown, 50.

According to the complaint, Richardson and the teen were in north Minneapolis June 29 and told witnesses they wanted to rob someone, then they saw Brown walking.

Witnesses told police Richardson hit Brown in the legs with a baseball bat, and the teen punched Brown in the face, causing him to fall back and hit his head on the sidewalk.

Authorities arrived to find Brown unresponsive on the ground and not breathing. The complaint said his pulse stopped after officers arrived and there was blood on the back of his head.

Paramedics took Brown to the hospital where he was placed on life support until last Saturday. He was pronounced dead Sunday, and the medical examiner said he died of blunt force head injuries. Hospital staff told police Brown also had cracked ribs.

According to the complaint, the teen told police he hit Brown two times in the face and took $5 from his pockets because he "needed some money to have a good time." The teen told police he and Richardson used the money to buy a bottle of alcohol.

The teen told police he was worried he could have killed Brown and that he was "gonna run," the complaint said.

Richardson told police the teen wanted to rob someone when they saw Brown "minding his own business," the complaint said. Richardson also told police he hit Brown with a baseball bat and then threw the bat in a nearby yard, according to the complaint.

Messages left for the defendants' attorneys were not immediately returned Tuesday.

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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.