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March 4, 2021
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The U.S. state of Minnesota recently released Myon Burrell, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2002 after he was convicted of the murder of an 11-year old girl.
The Minnesota Pardons Board commuted Myon Burrell’s sentence to 20 years from life plus 12 months, and said he will serve the remainder of his sentence on a supervised release, according to an internal memo from Commissioner Paul Schnell of the Minnesota Department of Corrections to various officials. “Based on the Board’s action, I authorize you to immediately process Mr Burrell for release from secure custody to serve out the remainder of his time on supervised release status,” Schnell said in the memo, a copy of which was emailed to Reuters.
Tyesha Edwards was killed on November 22, 2002, after a stray bullet tore through the wall of her home in Minneapolis. Authorities say the shooting was part of a gang war, and that the intended target was outside next to Edwards’ house when the shooting occurred. Burrell was 16 years old at the time. Burrell was first convicted in 2003 for Edwards’ death, and was convicted again in 2008 after the first verdict was thrown out, according to CBS Minnesota. Burrell has denied any involvement in the crime (Yahoo News).
The case gained national attention earlier this year after an investigation from The Associated Press concluded that there was no physical evidence linking Burrell to the murder and alleged significant flaws in the police investigation. The decision to commute Burrell’s sentence was made by Governor Tim Walz and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. Chief Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Lorie Gildea, who would typically participate in the vote, recused herself due to prior involvement in the case, CBS Minnesota reported.
In support of his decision to commute Burrell’s sentence, Governor Walz cited scientific evidence and Supreme Court rulings highlighting the difference between the brain of a teenager and that of an adult. “We’re not here to relitigate the crime committed against your family that took your daughter away. There is nothing I can do to ease your pain, and it will not be made better,” Walz told Edwards’ family during the meeting, according to The Associated Press.
“But we must act today to recognize the law in this area has changed. Justice is not served by incarcerating a child for his entire lifetime for a horrible mistake committed many years ago.” “Mr. Burrell has shown tremendous rehabilitation, positive programming, and leadership during his incarceration,” he added. “For those reasons, I voted for his commutation. He just walked out of Stillwater Prison today, under supervised release. I wish him and his family the best.” Burrell, now 34, has spent almost two decades in prison (MSN).
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE