By Anthony Gockowski and Hayley Feland
HENNEPIN COUNTY, Minn. – A Minnesota family is pleading for justice after learning that one of the men responsible for killing their relative may spend no time behind bars.
Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty announced a plea deal Aug. 4 for 20-year-old Husayn Braveheart, who was 15 in June 2019 when he and Jared Ohsman killed 39-year-old Steve Markey during an attempted carjacking in Northeast Minneapolis.
“Our family is being revictimized by Mary Moriarty with this miscarriage of justice,” said Kristin Derus Dore, Markey’s cousin. Derus Dore and her family spoke out against the plea deal during a press conference last month.
Under the deal, Braveheart pled guilty to one count of aiding and abetting second-degree intentional murder. In exchange, he will serve up to one year in the workhouse and five years of probation with a suspended prison sentence of 21 years, meaning he will only serve time in prison if he violates the terms of his probation.
“What it feels like is that my cousin’s life is only worth probation, like he didn’t matter,” Derus Dore told Alpha News. “That’s the biggest piece of it: how many more families have to go through this? I just don’t want anyone else to have to go through this.”
Husayn Braveheart (Hennepin County Jail)
Moriarty’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment. In a press release, she said Braveheart “has shown he is responsive to the carefully-selected programming he has received over the past four years.”
“If we disrupt that progress, we will jeopardize public safety and risk everything when he comes back to the community. We cannot take that risk,” she said.
Braveheart’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 23 where the judge could, in theory, reject the plea deal.
“If nothing changes, on Oct. 23, the judge, Michael Burns, can accept that plea deal. If he does, then Braveheart will be released on probation. The judge could deviate from the suggested sentence of probation and impose something else. That’s not common, but it is within his power,” Derus Dore said.
She has also launched a petition calling on Attorney General Keith Ellison to take the case from Moriarty’s office, a rare and controversial move that Ellison has already done once during Moriarty’s tenure.
“Nothing will bring him back, or give us the years that we have lost with him. Do whatever it takes to help our whole community. It’s terrifying for us and the whole community,” Derus Dore commented.
Braveheart’s accomplice, Jared Ohsman, was 16 at the time of the murder but was certified as an adult. He pled guilty to intentional murder and is serving a 21-year sentence, according to Moriarty’s office.
Ohsman fired the fatal shot, but Braveheart admitted to firing at Markey’s car as it drove away, according to a criminal complaint in the case.
A lower court judge initially ruled that Braveheart’s case should proceed in juvenile court, but that decision was reversed on appeal by the Minnesota Supreme Court, which ruled Braveheart should be certified as an adult, Moriarty’s office said.
“The older one was 16 and was certified to stand trial as an adult. He was given a sentence of 21 years, but he was not the ringleader. He had a diminished mental capacity. The older defendant didn’t provide the weapons, didn’t come up with the plan; the younger one who was 15 did,” Derus Dore said.
“Though he was the ringleader, his bullet was allegedly not the one that was the fatal shot. None of that holds water with our family. This feels like a miscarriage of justice. Putting him back in the community just makes no sense,” she added.
Derus Dore said Markey had just “left his mom’s house with a roast beef sandwich” and was parked near Bauhaus Brew Labs when he was approached by Ohsman and Braveheart around 4:50 p.m. on June 11, 2019.
“He was parked in his old Toyota. It wasn’t even a fancy car,” she said. Both Ohsman and Braveheart had bandanas covering their faces and approached the car with guns drawn.
“Both Defendants fired their weapons during the incident. Victim attempted to flee the area in his vehicle, but he crashed it into a building approximately one block away from the scene of the shooting. Victim later died from his gunshot wounds,” the charges say.
Derus Dore said both Braveheart and Ohsman had a “history of prior violence.” In fact, after killing Markey, the pair “engaged in assaultive conduct in downtown Minneapolis,” stole a car in St. Louis Park, and then “used that vehicle to drive to two separate locations and commit burglaries,” according to the charges.
Jared Ohsman (Department of Corrections)
“They were apprehended quickly, but not before they committed additional crimes that day. They carjacked and assaulted more people that day and robbed a cellphone store,” Derus Dore said. “The murder of my cousin didn’t deter or stop them from continuing to commit crimes.”
More recently, she dismissed charges against the suspect in the police pursuit that resulted in the death of Leneal Frazier in 2021 and the subsequent conviction of former Minneapolis officer Brian Cummings.
In March, Moriarty’s office issued a memo outlining changes to how her office will handle juvenile offenders, saying she will focus on “accountability, treatment and healing; not punishment,” KARE 11 reported.
In updated mission and vision statements released earlier this month, Moriarty’s office committed itself to using “preventive and restorative approaches to address the complex root causes of crime and violence.”
Moriarty, a former public defender, was open about her progressive approach to criminal justice on the campaign trail last year.
“Incarceration, sometimes a year or more after a crime is committed, disconnects the punishment from the impact of a crime on a victim. Incarceration disconnects the person who committed violence from their community and makes reintegration extremely difficult,” she said on her campaign website. “Kids are just that: kids. Research shows that the decision making part of the brain responsible for impulse control and risk taking is not fully developed until the age of twenty-five.”
Derus Dore said the men who killed her cousin were “known by the system” but “the system also failed them.”
“I don’t see why the entire community has to suffer for that mistake.”
This article originally appeared at Alpha News and was reprinted with permission.