Seward shooting suspect to be tried as adult

Mahdi Hassan Ali
This undated image provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff shows Mahdi Hassan Ali, who along with another teenager was charged with three counts of murder in the Jan. 6 killings at Seward Market and Halal Meat.
AP Photo/Hennepin County Sheriff

A Hennepin County judge says triple homicide suspect Mahdi Hassan Ali will be tried as an adult.

Judge Peter Cahill issued an order on Monday, saying it's likely that Ali was at least 16 years old when he allegedly killed three men at the Seward Market in Minneapolis earlier this year.

Ali's attorney, Frederick Goetz, had tried to prove that the teenager was 15 at the time, and eligible for a juvenile court trial.

"We're disappointed with the result. We had hoped that the court would have agreed with our position," said Goetz. "But we understand the court's ruling is what it is. And we're now exploring what options to do next."

Goetz said he may appeal the judge's ruling, but Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said he doesn't think an appeal would be successful.

"The facts, I think they're overwhelming that we met the preponderance of evidence that he was over 16 at the time he purportedly committed the crime," Freeman said. "I think that's pretty clear and it would be highly unlikely a court of appeals would reverse that."

Last month, Cahill heard arguments over Ali's true age. The defense presented several witnesses, including Ali's 75-year-old mother, Sainab Osman. But Cahill said Osman was "hostile" and her testimony was "inconsistent and patently false in many areas."

Osman admitted in court that she'd lied about her son while she applied to emigrate to the U.S. She also testified that it was OK to lie to the authorities because she felt it was in the best interests of her family.

The hearing also included forensic dental testimony from expert witnesses for both sides. The state's witness estimated that it was 75 percent likely that Ali was over 16 at the time of the shooting.

Cahill wrote: "Based on all the files, records, proceedings, exhibits, testimony and other evidence, the Court now finds that the preponderance of the evidence establishes that the Defendant, Mahdi Hassan Ali, had reached the age of sixteen years before January 6, 2010, the date that Defendant allegedly committed murder in the first degree."

At the time of his arrest, Ali held a driver's license with the birthdate Jan. 1, 1993.

Ali's trial is scheduled to begin in January.