Uncle: ‘My Nephew is Innocent’ in Murder of Orono High Grad

Leslie Dyste, KSTP, September 25, 2012

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Colton Gleason, an Orono High School graduate, was walking with friends Thursday night in a St. Cloud alley near Eighth and Ninth Avenues when a car drove up. The passenger of the vehicle got out and punched Gleason.

Gleason hit his head on the pavement. He died Friday night.

Now, 17-year-old Jesse Jean Smithers of Sauk Rapids is in custody. The Stearns County District Court charged him with one count of second degree murder, one count of first degree manslaughter, and one count of first degree assault.

“All we can do is now depend on the justice system to help make this person pay for a senseless cowardice crime,” said John Gleason, Colton’s father.

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