The Minnesota Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday morning on a dispute over the true age of a triple murder suspect.
Mahdi Hassan Ali is accused of killing three men at the Seward Market in south Minneapolis last January. However, Ali's attorney, Frederick Goetz, says Ali was under 16 at the time of the shooting, and is seeking to get him tried as a juvenile.
Goetz is asking the Supreme Court to overturn last fall's ruling by a Hennepin County Judge that dental records taken of Ali show that he was likely 16 or older. Ali, like many Somali immigrants, doesn't have a birth certificate.
Goetz said his client was 15 years old at the time of the shooting and should be tried in juvenile court. He argued that the lower court decision needs to be appealed before a trial, verdict and possible sentence.
"Once that process happens, the genie is out of the bottle," Goetz said. "It is effectively unreviewable; it cannot be undone."
In Minnesota, a 16-year-old accused of murder can be tried without first undergoing a certification process to determine eligibility to stand trial as an adult.
If the court grants Ali's request for an appeal, the September murder trial will be postponed until a later date.