A teenager charged with murder in connection with last year's death of former Orono High School student Colton Gleason in St. Cloud has pleaded not guilty, and a trial has been scheduled for August.
Jessen Smithers, 17, was arrested several days after Gleason was attacked last September near the campus of St. Cloud State University. Smithers was previously certified to stand trial as an adult.
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The St. Cloud Times reported last week that Gleason was walking two females home when an altercation began after someone made contact with a vehicle passing the group. According to police, several people got out of the car, including Smithers, and Gleason was punched once. He fell to the ground, struck his head and died the next day at St. Cloud Hospital.
Smithers has been charged with second-degree murder, first-degree assault and first-degree manslaughter. He has maintained his innocence since he was taken into custody last fall.
Colton Gleason was a 2010 graduate of Orono High School. He played both football and soccer at Orono High School and worked for his family's business—New Glow Flooring & Surface Enhancement in Medina—both in high school and during breaks from college classes.
Trevor Arneson grew up with Gleason and said shortly after his death that he was devestated.
"Colton made many great memories in my childhood," Arneson said. "I'll never forget any of them. Seeing such a great kid dying this way breaks my heart. He will always be apart of my life. My prayers go to the whole Gleason family. You'll never be forgotten Colton."
Lake Minnetonka Patch will have additional updates to this story as developments in the case warrant.