MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Sen. Amy Klobuchar is asking Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to open up an independent review of a case that sent a Minnesota teen to prison for life.
In 2003, 16-year-old Myon Burrell was convicted of shooting and killing 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards as she sat at her kitchen table doing homework.
Burrell has maintained his innocence, and Klobuchar’s request for a new investigation is giving his family new hope.
Dan Guerrero, attorney for the Burrells, thinks justice may be on the horizon.
“I applaud [Klobuchar]. I’m very happy that she’s done that,” Guerrero said. “Of course, she’s been calling for the review, but something as substantive as this is really important.”
Freeman’s office said it is committed to reviewing the case file and new information from Guerrero — who says the family would like to see investigators from outside the county attorney’s office look at the case. Minneapolis NAACP President Leslie Redmond agrees.
“This case is so important, and I believe it will open the flood gates for us to recognize that we can no longer depend on these outdated post-convictions laws,” Redmond said. “A number of states now have conviction integrity units, and it’s time for Minnesota to be as progressive as we claim to be, and we need to move in the right direction and have conviction integrity units and not depend on the same divisions that prosecuted people to free them.”
Guerrero says the state did not investigate Burrell’s alibi the day he was arrested in 2002, and relied on jailhouse informants to convict him.
Redmond says she hopes Freeman follows Klobuchar’s lead.
“I need Mike Freeman to show that same courage and say you know what, it’s time that we do the right thing, that we recognize that there’s a little bit of a conflict of interest here, right? And that we may have too much invested in this conviction, and so let someone from the outside come in and give us a recommendation,” Redmond said.
Guerrero says his office will continue to provide the county attorney’s office affidavits and statements of jailhouse informants who say they lied during Burrell’s trial.
It is not clear yet if an outside organization will be called upon to look at the new evidence.