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Cousin of Amir Locke pleads guilty in murder of St. Paul man

Mekhi Speed, the cousin of Amir Locke, who was shot and killed by Minneapolis police, admitted being responsible for the death of Otis Elder.

ST PAUL, Minn. — The teen whose crime started a chain of events that led to the fatal shooting of Amir Locke during the execution of a no-knock warrant has now pleaded guilty to murder. 

Mekhi Speed is now 18 but was 17 years old when he admittedly shot and killed Otis Elder while making a drug deal in St. Paul on the night of January 10, 2022. 

Completing a deal announced earlier this week, Speed appeared on a Zoom hearing Friday and entered a guilty plea in adult court to one count of second-degree murder without intent while committing a crime. In exchange, a second-degree murder with intent charge was dropped, and prosecutors agreed that Speed will be sentenced within the state recommended guidelines with no upward departure. 

KARE 11's Lou Raguse reports that the sentence will likely range from 10 to 15 years in prison. 

During the hearing, Judge Timothy Mulrooney asked Speed if he understood the plea deal and was entering into the agreement willingly. In a deep and groggy-sounding voice, the 18-year-old answered with a simple yes and went on to admit his involvement in the fatal shooting of the 38-year-old Elder. 

Raguse tweeted that during the proceedings Speed's mother, Cheryl Locke, kept unmuting herself and verbally disrupting the proceedings. Judge Mulrooney warned her that if the interruptions continued, she would be removed from the virtual hearing. 

 

Ramsey County prosecutor George Joyer told the electronic courtroom that Elder's family objects to the plea agreement, but will share the pain of his death via victim impact statements when Speed is sentenced in July. 

Today's guilty plea officially moved Speed into the adult correctional system, and at the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Mulrooney ordered the 18-year-old to be moved from the county's juvenile detention center into an adult prison. 

Minneapolis police were looking for Mekhi Speed when they burst into a downtown Minneapolis apartment on Feb. 2. The apartment belonged to Speed's brother and girlfriend, and his cousin Amir Locke was sleeping on a couch in the living room. A SWAT officer told department officials that he saw Locke reaching for a gun that was nearby and opened fire, killing Locke. The police shooting set off protests across the Twin Cities and Minnesota and placed the troubled Minneapolis Police Department under increasing scrutiny. 

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