35-year sentence in 2021 fatal Rochester shooting upheld by appeals court

(ABC 6 News) – The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld a St. Paul man’s 35-year sentence after a murder of a man in Rochester.

Derrick Timothy Days, of St. Paul, was sentenced in March of 2023 to 35.5 years following the 2021 fatal shooting of Todd Lorne Banks Jr. in Rochester.

Days appealed the sentencing, arguing that his offense was “significantly less serious than a typical second-degree murder.”

The court of appeals rejected Days’ argument that he had shot Banks Jr. in a way similar to “heat-of-passion manslaughter,” warranting a lighter sentence.

Days’ co-defendant, Nautica Cox, is scheduled to stand trial on three counts of aiding and abetting a second-degree murder and one count of possession of a firearm in September of this year.


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(ABC 6 News) – A South St. Paul man was sentenced on Monday morning to 35.5 years in a 2021 fatal shooting in Rochester.

Derrick Timothy Days, 29, pleaded guilty in November 2022 to second-degree murder and second-degree assault in the shooting death of Todd Lorne Banks Jr. in June 2021.

When the verdict for Days was read, you could hear huge sighs of relief in the courtroom from the friends and family members of Banks Jr.

It was an emotional day in court, friends and family of Banks Jr. as well as Days filled the courtroom.

During the sentencing, the prosecution showed key evidence in Days’ conviction: downtown security footage from that summer night.

That video showing a fight between a group of men and Banks being thrown to the ground before he was shot to death.

“Mr. Days can then be seen putting round after round into Mr. Banks as he’s lying on the pavement,” prosecutor Eric Woodford argued.

In total, nine rounds were fired.

The only sound in the courtroom was Banks’ mother, sobbing as she watched her son being murdered.

But, the defense asked Olmsted County Judge Joseph Chase for a lighter sentence of 20 years..

“What was his state of mind? It was fear, it was anger, it was spontaneous,” Days’ defense attorney, Beau McGraw argued. “It wasn’t this cold, calculated thought to kill.”

McGraw argued that Banks was the aggressor in the situation, not Days.

However, the prosecution argued that fight never needed to lead to murder.

“He treated life as cheap, he treated life as disposable. For that, the appropriate sentence is 426 months,” Woodford added.

Days himself had a moment to speak, apologizing to Banks’ family and asking for forgiveness.

“If I could take back my actions that day, I absolutely would in a heartbeat,” he said. “You may not forgive me now, but I pray one day you will find it in your hearts to forgive me. I am truly sorry.”

Monday, Judge Chase sentenced Days to a total of 426 months (35.5 years) in prison on the second-degree murder charge and 45 months on the second-degree assault charge. Judge Chase said Days must serve 284 months – 23.6 years – before being eligible for supervised release.

Judge Chase told Days he should have chosen a different path that night.

“I hope that remorse is a reason for Mr. Days to come to understand, over the time he will have to contemplate this, and agree that the courts sentence, significant as it is, is just and fits the crimes,” Judge Chase said.

Although it is what the prosecution wanted, it is still an ending that is hard to swallow.

“We don’t really consider it a win, but it was I guess gratifying that we got an appropriate result. There’s just a tremendous amount of emotion and work that goes into a case,” Olmsted County District Attorney Mark Ostrem added.

During the trial Monday, Banks’ mom and the mother of his child also read victim statements, telling the courtroom and Days that he would never be forgiven for what he did to their family. She says, “there is not enough time for Days to spend in prison for what he did to my family,” and that Days, “doesnt deserve to have a lesser sentence.”

Prior to the sentencing, seven letters were sent to Judge Chase from Days’ family and friends, begging the judge to have leniency and to see Banks as “a human, not for what happened.”

Judge Chase said at the closing of the trial that he did just that, but that, “it didn’t just happen, Days acted.”

Days will get credit for 642 days already served, according to Judge Chase.

RELATED: South St. Paul man pleads guilty to 2021 fatal Rochester shooting

Authorities said on June 6, 2021, Days and Nautica Cox, 23 of Minneapolis, shot two men on June 6 near the parking ramp on 1st Avenue and 3rd Street in Rochester around 2:30 a.m.

28-year-old Todd Lorne Banks Jr. was killed and another 28-year-old man from Rochester suffered critical injuries.

Rochester Police said at least 5 people were playing dice on the sidewalk when a physical fight broke out and the two men began shooting.

Meanwhile, Cox has pleaded not guilty to three counts of aiding and abetting a second-degree murder and one count of possession of a firearm. He is set to begin trial in June.