APPLETON – The teenager arrested after a deadly shooting at the Fox River Mall has been convicted of a homicide charge.
Dezman Ellis, 18, of Oshkosh, pleaded no contest to two felony charges, second-degree intentional homicide and first-degree recklessly endangering safety, at a hearing Wednesday afternoon in Outagamie County.
Ellis was charged in connection with the death of Jovanni Frausto, a 19-year-old from Neenah who Ellis has now admitted he shot and killed Jan. 31 at the Fox River Mall. The incident forced crowds of people to shelter in place inside the mall.
Ellis could be sentenced to a maximum of 60 years in prison on the homicide charge, plus a maximum of 12½ years on the endangering safety charge. He will be sentenced Feb. 1.
Ellis had been charged with first-degree intentional homicide, which carries a mandatory life sentence, but that charge was amended by prosecutors before Ellis entered his plea. He had been scheduled to stand trial in December.
Frausto’s mother, Tanya Lopez, spoke in court before Ellis entered his plea.
“By not having a trial, I don’t think my son is getting justice,” she said.
Lopez told Outagamie County Judge Mark McGinnis she didn’t believe Ellis was remorseful for his actions.
“I don’t think he should ever get out, ever,” she said. “My son can never come back, now, can he?”
Police responded to multiple reports of shots being fired near the food court inside the mall shortly after 3:30 p.m. Jan. 31. Some shoppers fled. Others found places to hide.
The incident happened after Ellis and Frausto — who were both at the mall, but with separate groups of friends — began to “exchange words,” apparently about a girl in Ellis’ group who used to talk to Frausto, according to a criminal complaint.
Ellis told Frausto, “I will shoot this place up, I will kill you,” then displayed a gun before opening fire at Frausto, the complaint says. Then, Ellis fled the mall.
A bystander wounded by one of Ellis’ shots told investigators he had been talking to a friend when he heard a voice say “drop the gun.” He then heard a shot and felt something hit him in the hip, the complaint says.
Police found two spent shell casings at the scene, the complaint says. An autopsy later determined Frausto died as a result of two gunshot wounds.