A St. Paul man took the stand in Ramsey County District Court this week and admitted to gunning down the son of the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands.
Kareem Karel Mitchell confessed to the killing in Ramsey County District Court when he pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree intentional murder in the death of George Bensouda, 33, outside the St. Paul Saloon last winter.
George Bensouda is the son of Fatou Bensouda, a lawyer at the Rwanda tribunal that prosecuted perpetrators of the 1990s genocide before beginning her work with the International Criminal Court
“What did you do to be found guilty of this crime,” Ramsey County District Judge Leonardo Castro asked Mitchell during his plea hearing Wednesday afternoon.
“I shot and killed somebody,” Mitchell said in a quiet voice.
“And what was your intent (that night),” Castro continued.
“To kill someone,” Mitchell said.
The confession came after one of Mitchell’s two attorneys, Joseph Friedberg, asked his client if he understood the rights he was giving up by pleading guilty in the case. He also asked Mitchell to acknowledge to the court that his actions were not in self-defense nor fueled by alcohol or drug-use.
During his questioning, Friedberg indicated that other people at the bar the night of the shooting knew Mitchell and could identify him as the shooter.
He also suggested that Mitchell had a “serious motive,” for his actions, but said the defense wanted to refrain from elaborating on it until Mitchell’s sentencing.
His defense team, which includes attorney Earl Gray, also reserve the right to argue for a downward departure from state sentencing guidelines, meaning Mitchell could wind up serving less time if Castro finds their arguments compelling.
Whatever sentence is ultimately handed down will be served concurrently with the sentence he receives in a federal drug case still pending against him.
Bensouda was fatally shot outside the bar in the Dayton’s Bluff area last Jan. 29.
When police arrived at the scene, they found a woman holding a towel to Bensouda’s head outside the door of the bar. Another man had a gunshot wound to his leg. Seven .40-caliber casings were found nearby.
Both victims were taken to Regions Hospital, where Bensouda was ultimately pronounced dead.
Video footage from outside the bar shows a man in a gray hooded sweatshirt approach the two victims as they drunkenly stumbled out of the building, court records say.
Several witnesses at the bar that evening later told police that the man in the sweatshirt was Mitchell.
During his plea hearing Wednesday, Mitchell said he was at the bar with family and friends. He also admitted to sharing a drink with Bensouda before later shooting him to death.
Bensouda, who was a native of Gambia, attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire between 2001 and 2002 and then from 2004 to December 2007, graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in management-entrepreneurship.
Mitchell has eight felonies on his criminal record.
He was released from jail following his arrest in Bensouda’s murder after posting $1 million bail. He was later taken back into custody on federal drug charges.
He will be sentenced for murder in May.

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