Teen found guilty in Widstrand beating

A Ramsey County jury found St. Paul teen Cindarion Butler guilty on Tuesday, Jan. 14, of assault in the brutal beating of Ray Widstrand that took place on Aug. 4, 2013.

Butler, 17, was found guilty of first-degree assault and aggravated robbery. The jury acquitted him on two counts of crimes for the benefit of a gang.

According to court records, Widstrand was walking near his home when he came upon a large group of teenagers, some of whom were fighting.

A handful of males in the group attacked Widstrand, kicking his body and hitting his head with a sock containing a full can of pop. He sustained severe injuries, including brain swelling.

The assault took place not far from the Eastern District Police Station, which is located at the intersection of Payne and Minnehaha avenues.

Widstrand has since made a partial recovery, and according to his CaringBridge has transitioned out of medical facilities and is living with his family.

“Tonight’s verdict is a small measure of justice for the victim who was brutally beaten and left for dead on the streets of St. Paul’s East Side,” said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi in a statement. “We look forward to the sentencing phase of this case as well as any additional hearings in connection with this horrific incident.”

Butler could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

After the verdict came through, Widstrand’s sister Alice Widstrand wrote on his CaringBridge website that the verdict brings “closure and justice for my brother and family.”

According to a criminal complaint from the Ramsey County attorney’s office, Butler was identified by police following witness statements, cell phone pictures and footage from a city bus.

—  Patrick Larkin


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