Teen accused in 1-punch death may argue self-defense

8:47 AM, Aug 26, 2013   |    comments
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ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- The teenager accused of causing a man's death last year after one punch in a St. Cloud alley has filed a notice in court that he might argue he acted in self-defense.

Jesse Jean Smithers, 18, is scheduled to stand trial Nov. 12 in Stearns County District Court. He is charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter for the death of Colton Gleason.

Smithers was 17 when the incident happened, and has been certified to stand trial as an adult.

Smithers is accused of punching Gleason in September while Gleason was walking in a south St. Cloud alley. Gleason hit his head on the ground and was unconscious when he was taken to St. Cloud Hospital. He regained consciousness there, but he later died from his injuries.

Court records say Smithers was a passenger in a vehicle passing through the alley. Gleason was walking two female friends home when a vehicle passed near the three of them.

Someone in the group that included Gleason hit the vehicle as it drove past, prompting a group of people to get out of the vehicle, according to court records.

One person punched Gleason, who fell backward and hit his head. A court complaint accuses Smithers of being the person who punched Gleason.

Smithers initially denied having anything to do with the incident that led to Gleason's death and said he didn't know who did.

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