Man pleads guilty to April shooting death of his girlfriend in Brooklyn Park

A Minneapolis man has pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in the shooting death of his girlfriend in a Brooklyn Park home April 10.

Dymond Rene Hayden, 20, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder Nov. 30 for killing his girlfriend, Ashantai Nicole Finch, with a single gunshot to the chest April 10. According to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, he will be sentenced Thursday, Jan. 10, and is expected to receive 15 years in prison.

Third-degree murder is an unintentional killing by someone “perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life.” The maximum sentence for third-degree murder is 25 years.

Hayden had been scheduled to go on trial Dec. 3 on a charge of second-degree intentional murder, which carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

At 11:42 p.m. April 10, police responded to a report of a stabbing, but when officers arrived at the scene, they found Finch dead of a gunshot wound to the chest in the basement of a house on the 8100 block of Hampshire Court North.

Finch and Hayden, her boyfriend, had been living in the home with her sister and brother-in-law and their daughter. They had been fighting in the days before Finch’s death.

Police arrested Hayden at the scene, which was approximately 1 mile east of a separate, triple homicide at a home daycare early April 9.

According to the criminal complaint, police found Hayden in the room with Finch when they arrived at the scene.

At first Hayden told police Finch had purchased the gun for self-defense and said he’d been in the other room when he heard a gunshot. But police said he changed his story when confronted with its implausibility based on the location of the shell casing.

Then Hayden told officers he’d been handling the gun, looking at the inside and turning it around in his hand when it accidentally fired.

Hayden told police he hid the weapon out of fear because he was on probation for carrying a pistol without a permit and had been convicted of second-degree criminal sexual conduct as a juvenile in 2005.