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Suspect in drug-deal shooting pleads not guilty

One of the men accused of being involved in a July 30 drug deal that ended in a shooting has pleaded not guilty.

Elijah Jachon Golden, 19, entered the pleas Tuesday in Olmsted County District Court, where he's been charged with first-degree aggravated robbery and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, both felonies.

He remains in custody in lieu of $100,000 conditional bond; Golden's next court date has been set for Jan. 29.

Golden is one of four people charged in the incident, which left a Rochester man recovering from a gunshot wound to the face.

Facing identical charges as Golden are Charles Antonio Webster Jr., 21, and Aries Nyee Candler, 18. Beda Danielle Johnson, 20, faces one count of felony aiding an offender-accomplice after the fact.


Authorities have been looking for Candler since the shooting; he has ties to Minneapolis and Chicago and is considered armed and dangerous.

The case began at about 7:20 p.m. July 30 when police were called to the emergency room of a local hospital, where staff members were treating a patient who had walked in with a gunshot wound to the face. When officers arrived, the 20-year-old man had been taken to surgery and was unable to talk to them immediately.

The two men who brought the victim to the hospital were cooperative and told the police officers the victim had arranged for the group to meet two other men — later identified as Candler and Golden — at 7 p.m. in the parking lot of Perkins, at 432 16th Ave. N.W. When the victim and his friends arrived, Golden and Candler got into their vehicle; together, the five drove to a nearby neighborhood.

At some point during the drive, an altercation began, and the fight spilled out of the vehicle in the 400 block of 13th Avenue Northwest.

Candler then allegedly pulled a small-caliber handgun from his clothing and fired a single shot. The round struck the 20-year-old in the chin, traveled laterally and exited out of the side of his face near his mouth.

After the shooting, Candler and Golden ran to a vehicle that was parked and, apparently, waiting for them nearby, with Webster allegedly at the wheel. The waiting vehicle led police to believe the incident was planned, the report says.

Golden was arrested at about 12:30 p.m. July 31 at the home of his girlfriend's mother in the 900 block of Fourth Avenue Southeast. Webster was arrested at about 4:45 p.m. Aug. 6 in the 1300 block of Cascade Street Northwest.

Investigators obtained a search warrant for Johnson's phone; she is Webster's girlfriend. According to the complaint, Johnson and another woman exchanged several text messages between Aug. 7 and Aug. 10, during which Johnson wanted to know what the woman was going to tell police regarding events the night of the shooting.


Johnson allegedly sent the woman a text that said, "Tony (Webster) said all you have to tell the officer is that you guys were smoking and parked the car and went down by" where the shooting happened.

"You don't have to say anything else even if they ask other questions," another text read. "Tony said he believes the time was about 630," and "he said that's all you have to say."

The friend told officers Johnson sent her a text the night of the shooting, saying Webster and Candler were allegedly going to sell drugs. She said Johnson later received a phone call saying "something went wrong," and Johnson later told the woman he had used her as an alibi, the complaint says.

Anyone with information about Candler's whereabouts is asked to contact the Rochester Police Department at 328-6800, or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477. Tips may be given anonymously.

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