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Two Shot near New Way Market

Crime scene investigators work the scene of a double shooting on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, near the New Way Market at the corner of Page and Belt avenues in St. Louis. Two people were shot. A witness said that the driver of the car was hanging out of the car and not moving. A second victim was on the ground on the passenger side of the car and still moving. Both were taken away by ambulance. Photo by J.B. Forbes, jforbes@post-dispatch.com

ST. LOUIS – A jury on Friday acquitted a St. Louis man of murder charges in a 2017 double homicide.

Marvell Minnis stood trial this week in the Aug. 29, 2017, killings of two men in front of New Way Market at 1305 Belt Avenue, northwest of the intersection of Page and Union boulevards.

Marvell Minnis, acquitted

Marvell Mininis, of St. Louis, was acquitted of a double homicide in 2017 at Belt Avenue and Page Boulevard.

Minnis, 43, of the 2800 block of Olive Street, was charged with two counts each of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the shooting deaths of Matthew Barry, 44, and Otis Bennett, 45.

But on Friday the jury, after deliberating for more than 12 hours, rejected eyewitness testimony identifying Minnis as the killer.

“I’d like to thank jurors for their service and careful deliberation in this case,” said Minnis’ public defender, Tony Davidson. “The jury came to the right decision.”

Two Shot near New Way Market

A St. Louis police officer directs people at the scene of a double shooting on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, near the New Way Market at the corner of Page and Belt avenues in St. Louis. Two people were shot in a car near the entrance to the store. Photo by J.B. Forbes, jforbes@post-dispatch.com

Police found Barry in the driver’s seat of a parked BMW, unconscious and not breathing with gunshot wounds to the head and chest. Bennett was found on the ground near the passenger side of the vehicle. He had been shot in the head. Both were pronounced dead at a hospital.

Prosecutors gave no motive for the murders in court.

Barry lived in the 5200 block of Minerva Avenue, less than half a mile from the shooting scene. Bennett lived in the 1900 block of Obear Avenue.

Minnis’ criminal history includes several convictions of illegal gun and drug possession and assault in St. Louis stretching back to the mid 1990s.