Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) is facing questions about her role in prosecuting Myon Burrell, an African-American teenager who was sentenced to life in prison for the 2002 murder of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards, reports Democracy Now.
The Associated Press notes that no gun, fingerprints or DNA were recovered; Edwards was killed by a stray bullet while doing her homework.
Klobuchar’s prosecutor’s office reportedly relied on a teen rival who offered conflicting stories when identifying the trigger man, who was standing 120 feet away, mostly behind a wall.
Police used multiple jailhouse snitches to build a case against Burrell. Some of the informants have since recanted, saying they were coached or coerced.
Burrell, who is now 33, has rejected all plea deals that could get him out of prison. He maintains he is innocent.
One of Burrell’s co-defendants, Ike Tyson, has insisted he was the trigger man, but prosecutors and police refused to believe him:
I already shot an innocent girl. Now an innocent guy — at the time he was a kid — is locked up for something he didn’t do. So, it’s like I’m carrying two burdens.
Sen. Klobachar has cited the jailing of Burrell as one of her achievements, but told “The View” on Feb. 11 that “all of the evidence needs to be immediately reviewed in that case, the past evidence and also any new evidence that has come forward.”
BuzzFeed News reports that Sen. Klobuchar avoided charging police when she was a prosecutor:
Klobuchar has also been criticized for failing to bring charges against a single police officer who killed a citizen in her eight-year run as the top prosecutor in Minnesota’s most populous county. There were more than two dozen police-involved killings in that period.