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Nicholas Kraus, man charged with protester's 2021 murder, sentenced to 20 years

The sentence stems from the murder of activist Deona Marie, who was struck by Kraus' vehicle while protesting the shooting death of Winston Smith by police.

MINNEAPOLIS — Nicholas Kraus, the man charged with driving his car into a group of protesters in June 2021, killing one person, was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years in prison.

Initially, Kraus faced three charges, all of which he entered "not guilty" pleas for. In October, Kraus changed his plea, admitting to unintentional second-degree murder and one count of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. The third charge was dropped as part of his plea deal, but a judge ruled he will still pay restitution. 

The charges stem from the murder of 31-year-old activist Deona Marie, who was struck by Kraus' vehicle while protesting the shooting death of Winston Smith by police in June 2021.

The judge presiding over Kraus' hearing expressed his sympathy to Marie's family, saying he acknowledged the weight of their loss.

"All I can say is, I'm sorry," he said. 

Then, turning to Kraus, he added, "I acknowledge that many of the people up here in front of me are now in the aftermath trying to wrap their heads around, 'How the hell did I do that?' But you did, and you need to wrap your head around that."

Kraus apologized to Marie's family, saying he "shouldn't have been in that car."

"If I had the power to do it, I would try to bring back what was lost."

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