Mahdi Hassan Ali to be tried as adult in Seward triple homicide
Mahdi Hassan Ali will be tried as an adult for his role in January's triple homicide at a Somali market on East Franklin Avenue.
Mahdi Hassan Ali's dental records proved key for prosecutors.
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill set up that scenario when he ruled late yesterday that Ali was at least 16 years old at the time he's accused of taking part in the murders.
The Somali immigrant's lawyer had tried to argue that the teenager was 15 years old -- a minor -- despite government documents pegging his age at 17, and dental X-rays suggesting he was about 16.
Police say Ali was the gunman in a robbery gone bad at Seward Market and Halal Meats, that he shot store employee Abdifatah Warfa, his cousin Mohamed Warfa, and customer Anwar Mohammed dead as a video surveillance cameras caught him in the act.
He faces three counts of first-degree murder in a trial scheduled to start in January.
An accomplice, Ahmed Shire Ali -- no relation -- pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated robbery in April.
The three murders were among five in the first eight days of the New Year in Minneapolis. They marked a grim start to a year in which the city's homicide count, now at 33, has now far outpaced the 19 in 2009.
2010 Minneapolis Homicides:
- Aug. 14: Charles Kentrell Jones, 17
- Aug. 3: Charles Anthony Means, 21
- July 28: Carl Antoine Miller, 47
- July 25: Gilbert Jordan, 28
- June 21: Cordale Moore, 26
- July 11: Lashon Scott, 27
- July 11: Tirso Cruz Gomez, 24
- July 5: Anthony Titus, 16
- July 2: Lionel Franklin, 38
- June 13: Andrew James Battees, 16
- June 12: Phelandis Depure Jackson, 29
- June 10: Matthew Deon Johnson, 22
- May 29: Cedric Hunter Jr., 18
- May 24: Derrick Gregory Martin, 20
- May 21: Anton Warren, 31
- May 21: Romaze Stevens, 30
- May 4: DeCarl Antonio Starr, 18
- April 28: Amy Terborg, 28
- April 8: Tony Gale, 37
- April 2: Pauline Nash, 42
- March 30: Kenneth Sims, 21
- March 23: Robert Blake Castonguay, 26
- March 17: James E. King Jr., 20
- February 27: Alisha Neely, 17
- February 13: Drew Heinkle, 25
- February 4: Michael Fonta, 45
- January 17: Marvin Ray Maynard, 16
- January 20: Orlando Keith Nunn, 21
- January 8: Walter Lee Dolley Jr., 19
- January 6: Abdifatah Warfa, 28
- January 6: Mohamed Warfa, 30
- January 6: Anwar Mohammed, 31
- January 2: Dontae D. Johnson, 31