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Woman sentenced to 15 years for part in New Year's Eve drive-by that hurt St. Paul boy

Hastings woman sentenced for drive-by that injured St. Paul boy
Hastings woman sentenced for drive-by that injured St. Paul boy 01:31

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A 28-year-old woman was sentenced on Monday to more than 15 years in prison for her part in the 2023 New Year's Eve drive-by shooting in St. Paul that critically injured a 10-year-old boy.

Kelci Meyers, of Hastings, was found guilty in April of three felonies: aiding and abetting second-degree murder, aiding and abetting first-degree assault and aiding and abetting a drive-by-shooting, according to the Ramsey County Attorney's Office.

The night of the shooting

The criminal complaint states Meyers and 27-year-old Morris Ryan drove down the alley of Sherburne Avenue, a block west of North Dale Street in the Frogtown neighborhood, just before midnight on New Year's Eve.

Kelci Meyers RCSO

Ryan allegedly stopped behind the victim's residence and fired more than a dozen rounds. The victim's mother told police she heard a man scream "f*** y'all, mother*******" before shots rang out, the complaint states. 

One of the rounds struck her son as he was playing Legos with his siblings. The round entered his stomach and exited through his buttocks.

Multiple surveillance cameras captured Ryan's SUV at the scene of the shooting and afterward at a nearby gas station, according to the complaint. Ryan's cellphone was also pinged in the area.

The pair was later arrested at a Hastings residence, where police recovered seven handguns.

The complaint states Meyers told investigators she was once the victim's next-door neighbor and didn't get along with his mother.

Morris Ryan RCSO

Judge defends lengthy sentence

The defense argued it was Ryan who fired the gun and that Meyers was just in the car with him. During Monday's hearing, Meyers tearfully told the court she was sorry.

"I wanted to start by saying from the bottom of my heart, I would never wish harm, pain nor death on anyone, let alone an innocent child," Meyers said.

The boy's mother, Tequla Hamer, asked the judge for a long sentence.

"By holding these defendants accountable for their actions, we can begin to rebuild our lives and our sense of safety for myself and my children," Hamer said.

Hamer told WCCO her son is recovering well physically, but remains emotionally traumatized.

Kelci Meyers during her sentencing hearing WCCO

Meyers sobbed after District Court Judge Kellie Charles rejected her team's request for a downward sentencing departure of probation, citing a "callous disregard for human life." Charles gave Meyers a 183-month sentence, with 125 days credit for time served. She will also pay restitution of an undetermined amount.

"In his young life, (the victim) has already had seven surgeries. His sense of safety has been forever rocked," Charles said. "His days of being a carefree child ended that night. He had to grow up quick at the age of 10. He's lucky to be alive."

Ryan was charged with second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault and committing a drive-by shooting. The attempted murder charge alone carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Like Meyers, Ryan pleaded not guilty. His pre-trial hearing is scheduled for June 20.

Three other people were shot that same evening in St. Paul, one fatally.

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