St. Paul teen certified as an adult for the murder of a South St. Paul teen during a marijuana deal

The suspected shooter in the slaying of a teenager outside his South St. Paul home during a marijuana deal last year has been certified to stand trial as an adult, the Dakota County prosecutor’s office said Thursday.

The adult certification hearing for Casimir Anthony Semlak, 18, of St. Paul, was completed on November 28 under the supervision of Dakota County District Judge Chris Lehmann. He made the decision for him on Tuesday.

Semlak was just over three months shy of his 18th birthday at the time of the May 8 shooting that killed 17-year-old Anthony John Skelley, who was found with gunshot wounds to the head, torso and shoulder. Four days after the murder, Semlak was charged by juvenile petition with three counts of murder. Prosecutors tried to certify him as an adult.

Semlak now faces the same charges in adult court: one count of second degree murder, with intent, not premeditated; second degree murder from a moving vehicle; and second-degree murder, without intent, while committing a felony.

He had his first adult court appearance Thursday before Judge Leslie Metzen. Bail was set at $1 million or $750,000 with conditions, and Semlak remained jailed Thursday.

Casimir Anthony Semlak (Courtesy of the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office)

A defense attorney is not listed on Semlak’s adult court file. He has requested a public defender, according to court documents. A call for comment to the attorney who represented him in juvenile court was not immediately returned.

According to Skelley’s family, he was a junior at Gateway to College, a St. Paul Public Schools program at St. Paul College that allows high school students to earn college credit. Before that, he attended Two Rivers High School, formerly Henry Sibley, in Mendota Heights.

Neighbors reported shots

South St. Paul police officers responded to a report of gunshots in the 1900 block of Conver Avenue around 10:42 p.m. and found Skelley lying in the street unconscious, not breathing, and without a pulse. He was pronounced dead on scene.

Officers found a BB gun in Skelley’s hand, according to the charges, and shell casings from a 9mm handgun near him. A cell phone and a small bag of marijuana were found nearby on the street.

Neighbors reported hearing gunshots and seeing a small white or silver four-door car with a damaged right taillight leaving the area at high speed. Multiple Ring camera videos showed parts of the incident and the car in front of Skelley’s home.

During a search of his bedroom, investigators found marijuana in various bags and jars, according to the charges.

A man who had been inside Skelley’s home at the time of the shooting told officers he heard him on the phone saying he was coming out. They shot him a short time later.

A search of Skelley’s cell phone showed the last number called was Semlak’s, according to the charges.

The phone also revealed a series of text messages between the two teens about selling marijuana. In a text message, Skelley gave Semlak her home address. The last text Skelley received from Semlak read “here,” the charges read.

Investigators identified Semlak as the marijuana buyer through the Cash App, which was on Skelley’s phone. When Semlak was tracked down and arrested in a St. Paul park. one day after the murder, he was in possession of a 9mm Springfield Hellcat pistol with an inserted magazine containing several bullets. The bullets in the magazine were the same brand as casings found at the scene of the shooting, the charges say. Semlak’s DNA was found on the gun’s grip.

Semlak also had with him the cell phone that he exchanged messages with Skelley.

He declined to provide a statement to investigators.

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