a man standing in front of a brick building: Myon Burrell, convicted in the murder of Tyesha Edwards, an 11-year-old girl pierced in the heart by a stray bullet in 2002 while doing homework at her family's dining room table, at the Stillwater Correctional Facility, Oct. 23, 2019.


© Star Tribune/Star Tribune/John Minchillo/Star Tribune/TNS
Myon Burrell, convicted in the murder of Tyesha Edwards, an 11-year-old girl pierced in the heart by a stray bullet in 2002 while doing homework at her family’s dining room table, at the Stillwater Correctional Facility, Oct. 23, 2019.

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office has offered to reduce the prison term for Myon Burrell, whose conviction in the 2002 fatal shooting of a Minneapolis girl became a flash point in the presidential campaign of Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

In a news release Wednesday, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman proposed shaving 15 years from Burrell’s 45-year sentence in the killing of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards. He also stated his continued belief in Burrell’s guilt.

Freeman sent the offer to Burrell’s lawyer, Daniel Guerrero, via letter on Oct. 22. Freeman did not say whether it was accepted, and Guerrero could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.

Burrell, now in his 30s, was 16 when he was first convicted of killing Tyesha Edwards. He has maintained his innocence.

Freeman said that Burrell’s term is “too long.”

“I have reviewed this case thoroughly and I have reached two conclusions,” Freeman said in the news release. “First, there is no question that Myon Burrell pulled the trigger that fired the fatal bullet. Second, we have learned much about the brain development of juveniles, especially juvenile males.”

Freeman said that he and other prosecutors determined that Burrell was a minor “acting in concert with older, more experienced gang members,” factors the U.S. Supreme Court considered in a 2012 decision that cited the difference between juvenile and adult brains and its affect on behavior.

A gun shot had been fired outside and was meant to scare a rival, but instead penetrated a nearby home and struck Edwards, an innocent bystander, as she was doing homework at the dining room table.

The Associated Press published an investigation earlier this year questioning how the case was investigated by police and prosecuted by then-Hennepin County Attorney Klobuchar. Klobuchar was running for president at the time, and had mentioned the case at a presidential debate.

The AP article raised questions about the credibility of jailhouse informants, the lack of physical evidence and apparent missteps by investigators.

Burrell was convicted in 2003. He was later granted a new trial, and was convicted in 2008 of first-degree murder in a bench trial under Freeman’s tenure.

He was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years.

Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708

Twitter: @ChaoStrib

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