Key witness to testify today in Loesch murder trial

Donald Jackson, who pleaded guilty a year ago to aggravated robbery for his actions on the Sept. 12, 2007 night Kingfield resident and father of four Mark Loesch was killed, is scheduled to testify today against Jamaal Freeman, who is accused of the murder.

David Tyus, a friend of Freeman’s who was working as a police informant when the crime was committed, testified Wednesday that Freeman admitted to killing Loesch, who was found beaten in a front yard about a mile and a half from home the morning after leaving for a late-night bike ride.

Tyus, who has a list of felony convictions and is currently serving time for aggravated robbery, said in court that Freeman, who he knows as O’Dog, told him “some white dude on a bicycle” approached him looking to buy drugs. Tyus said Freeman decided to rob Loesch and Jackson told him to “take him around the corner where there weren’t any cameras” to avoid surveillance from nearby businesses.

“He said he took him around the corner and beat him in the head with a bat,” Tyus said.

He said the bat came from “little Kevin’s” house, referring to then-12 Kevin Dickerson, who found Loesch’s body the next morning.

Defense attorney Emmett Donnelly tried to discredit Tyus’ statements, questioning him about selling pot while he was an informant, lying to police about his crimes and being choosey about what he reported to police.

“Why don’t you just be candid with the jury here,” Donnelly said. “Some people you would provide information on and some people you wouldn’t.”
Tyus, who was paid for his informant work, said yes.

He said he got the information about the murder when Freeman crossed his path one day looking for pot. He said the conversation happened the day after the police officer he worked with asked for any information on the murder. Donnelly made that timing out to be coincidental and suspicious, adding that Tyus was paid $200 for the information.

Tyus said he was part of the Bloods gang, which was prominent in the area Loesch was killed. The defense is trying to argue that Jackson killed Loesch and blamed Freeman and that witnesses with gang connections are pinning it on him.

No clues or forensic evidence was left at the scene, so Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Therese Galatowitsch is depending heavily on witness testimony.

It took investigators several weeks after Loesch’s death to make any arrests. The clues came from calls to a police tip line.

Presiding Judge Mark Wernick said he expected the trial to continue into next week.