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Surveillance Video Released Of Seward Market Murders

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(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Video from inside the Seward Market in south Minneapolis where three people were gunned down in January 2010 has been released.

Last week, a jury convicted 18-year-old Mahdi Ali on three counts of first degree murder, one count of first degree premeditated murder and two counts of second-degree murder.

The surveillance video was the key piece of evidence for prosecutors. It not only showed the robbery but it also showed that the person holding the gun and pulling the trigger was Mahdi Ali.

Two different cameras captured the moments leading into the robbery. The owner, Osman Elmi, and his cousin, Mohamed Warfa, were in the store when Mahdi Ali walked in with another man, Ahmed Shire Ali, and pointed a gun at the two.

Another camera angle shows the men being told to get on the ground. Moments later a customer, Anwar Mohammed, interrupts the robbery. You also see one of the victims try to run out the door but he doesn’t make it.

In less than one minute, two people were killed and Mahdi Ali has left the store.

“In the last 10 years, the number of establishments having video cameras has increased. Convenience stores, grocery stores, ATMs; all that helps us a lot in identifying the perpetrators,” said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. “What the videos give us is a real identification in real time.”

The Seward Market owner is then shown making a call but Mahdi Ali returns again with gun in hand and opens fire. All three men Elmi, Warfa and Mohammed were killed.

Throughout the robbery, both men have their faces covered, yet it was still crucial evidence to get a conviction.

“We had it from a number of angles. From that we could really tell what happened and it provided valuable evidence to identify both the people who went in,” Freeman said.

Because they did not have the actual faces on camera, prosecutors say the victims’ blood on Mahdi Ali’s jeans was another piece of crucial evidence to help them secure a conviction.

While the jury was deliberating, they asked to see the surveillance video from inside the store again. Sentencing is set for Oct. 25. Mahdi Ali will likely spend the rest of his life in prison, without the possibility of parole.

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