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Explaining the Klobuchar article

The AP's investigative report on Sen. Amy Klobuchar's prosecution of a 2002 murder raises questions, causes reaction

MINNEAPOLIS — An Associated Press investigative report this week calls into question Sen. Amy Klobuchar's role in convicting a black teenager of murder, when she was the Hennepin County Attorney in 2002.

Myon Burrell is serving life in prison for the death of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards, killed by a stray bullet fired into her home.

When the crime occurred, it topped every newscast and led to outrage across Minneapolis about the state of random violence.

Burrell was identified by police as the suspected gunman, and he was charged with murder, maintaining his innocence.

But the AP report cites "uncovered new evidence and myriad inconsistencies, raising questions about whether he was railroaded by police."

RELATED: In Klobuchar's past, questions about a teen jailed for life

According to the report, several witnesses have recanted their stories, and one was paid by the detective to provide names.

Part of the reason the article was written is that on the campaign trail, Klobuchar uses the case in response to allegations she is not committed to racial justice. 

The 11-year-old victim was also black.

Burrell successfully appealed his first conviction, and the Hennepin County Attorney's office tried him again, without the use of a videotaped interrogation, and still convicted him. Klobuchar had already left the Hennepin County Attorney's Office by the second trial.

In a statement, the Klobuchar campaign says: "If there is new evidence in this case, it should be immediately reviewed by the court."

Protesters Wednesday morning said Klobuchar convicted an innocent man.

RELATED: Community activists call for action in light of AP investigation on teen jailed for life

RELATED: Stepfather of slain girl worries teen was wrongfully convicted

"We are here today calling for Amy Klobuchar to immediately suspend her campaign," said Nekima Levy Armstrong, a civil rights attorney and activist.

But if Burrell is innocent, how likely is it that he could get a new trial? 

After two trials and multiple appeals, attorney Marsh Halberg - who's not affiliated with the case - believes it would probably take more than what is referenced in the article.

"I really don't expect there's some new magical piece of evidence that's going to allow for a new trial here," Halberg said.

Tyesha Edwards' stepfather Leonard Winborn told the the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder he's now worried the wrong man was convicted. He said, "I think my family got hoodwinked."

But Mike Freeman's office says they've been fully cooperative, and neither the AP nor Burrell's lawyers have shown them any new evidence.

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