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Juvenile murder plea bargain accepted despite family's protest

Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty offered the teen a two-year juvenile program instead of adult prison.

MINNEAPOLIS — A plea deal offered to the 17-year-old suspect charged in juvenile court in connection to the murder of Zaria McKeever from Brooklyn Park was accepted Wednesday, sending the teen to a two-year juvenile program rather than an adult prison.

The family of McKeever protested the decision made by Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty last week to reverse course and no longer seek adult certification for the teen and his 15-year-old brother who allegedly pulled the trigger.

The decision aligns with Moriarty's campaign promise to seek fewer adult certifications for teens. But McKeever's family was furious with the decision and attempted to change the county attorney's mind.

"Zaria’s death was a devastating tragedy and I am deeply sorry to Zaria’s family for their loss and continued pain. I know they are disappointed in our decision on this case. We promise to continue to seek justice for Zaria’s murder as we aggressively prosecute the adult who orchestrated this horrific event," Moriarty said.

McKeever's ex-boyfriend Erick Haynes is charged with murder, accused of giving a gun to the boys and driving them to McKeever's apartment in Nov. 2022. Haynes is due back in court this month.

The 17-year-old will need to testify against Haynes, and after release from the Red Wing juvenile prison, a suspended adult prison term will be held over his head until he turns 21.

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