MINNEAPOLIS ( Associated Press) — A teenage cousin of Amir Locke pleaded guilty Friday to one count of murder, leading police to a Minneapolis apartment where a SWAT team officer operating a no-knock search warrant found Locke. fatally shot.
Mekhi Camden Speed, now 18, pleaded guilty to abetment and abetment of one count of unintentional second-degree murder while committing a felony in connection with the January 10 murder of Otis the Elder, 38. Intentional second-degree murder will be ruled out.
Speed, who was 17 at the time, entered his plea via video from the Juvenile Detention Center. Ramsey County Judge Timothy Mulrooney found that there was factual basis to support the guilty plea, which would be finalized upon sentencing.
Speed told the court that he had a handgun when he and others tried to rob the Elder of drugs in St. Speed said he was standing outside the Elder’s vehicle and another man climbed into the Elder’s passenger seat. Speed said there was a struggle and a shot was fired, but he has no recollection of pulling the trigger. He said he did not know whether his accomplice was armed or not.
“Everything happened fast,” he said.
Speed said he had been using alcohol, Percocet, and marijuana at the time of Otis’ murder and is now suffering from symptoms of PTSD. Pleading guilty, he agreed with his lawyer, Paul Sellers, that by aiding and abetting the crime that resulted in Otis’ death, he is still criminally liable.
As the St. Paul Police were investigating the Elder’s murder, they identified Speed as a suspect and obtained a search warrant for the Minneapolis apartment associated with him. Locke, Speed’s cousin, was not named in the warrant, but was in an apartment as the Minneapolis SWAT team entered the unit on February 2 without being knocked over.
The video shows that 22-year-old Locke, who was black, was shot seconds after police entered the apartment just before 7 a.m., on a couch wrapped in a comforter, and the video shows that he was holding a gun in the moments before he was shot. Police said he was shot after pointing a gun at officers, but Locke’s family questioned him and said he was shocked.
Minnesota prosecutors refused to file charges against Officer Mark Hahnemann, saying his use of deadly force was justified. Attorney General Keith Ellison and Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman said last month that Locke would never have been shot if a no-knock warrant had been issued. But he said there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hahnemann had violated the law.
Locke died while three former Minneapolis police officers were facing trial in federal court over the murder of George Floyd. It re-examined the protests and no-knock search warrants. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced an immediate moratorium on such warrants, and last month he formalized a new policy that, with limited exceptions, required officers to knock and wait before entering residences. . Some lawmakers are pushing for a statewide ban on no-knock warrants, except in rare circumstances.
In Elder’s Death, Speed was initially charged as a juvenile but his case was transferred to adult court. He will be transferred to the Department of Corrections while awaiting sentencing set for July 8.
It is not clear how long he could face, as his prior criminal history has not been determined and an appearance check will be conducted. A person without a criminal record would face anywhere from 10 years and nine months in prison to 15 years in prison. Speed has a juvenile record, including a September 2020 incident in which he shot a man in the thigh.
Get complete coverage of Andhra Pradesh on Amir Locke’s death: https://apnews.com/hub/amir-locke
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