Crime, Law and Justice

Prosecutor offers to cut Burrell's prison term by 15 years

Myon Burrell sits inside his cell.
In this Feb. 13, 2020, photo, inmate Myon Burrell sits inside his cell at Minnesota Correctional Facility in Stillwater, Minn.
John Minchillo | AP File

A Minnesota prosecutor said Wednesday that he has offered to reduce the sentence of a Black man who is serving life in prison in the fatal shooting of an 11-year-old girl.

Myon Burrell was 16 when he was accused of killing Tyesha Edwards, who was hit by a stray bullet on Nov. 22, 2002, while doing homework at her dining room table in Minneapolis.

Burrell was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years. He received another 15 years — to be served upon his release on parole — for his conviction in the attempted murder of Timothy Oliver, who was near the house where Edwards was killed.

Burrell’s case made national headlines earlier this year after a yearlong investigation by The Associated Press exposed major flaws in the police probe and prosecution, raising questions as to whether he may have been wrongfully convicted.

An independent panel of national legal experts put together by the Innocence Project and the Center on Wrongful Convictions is reviewing Burrell’s conviction and expected to release findings by the end of the year. His case is also scheduled to go before the Minnesota Board of Pardons next month.

In his statement Wednesday, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said prosecutors offered to take the added 15-year sentence off Burrell’s total penalty. Freeman said “there is no question” that Burrell pulled the trigger, but 45 years before a possible release is too long of a penalty for someone who was convicted as a teenager.

Burrell’s attorney, Daniel Guerrero, said Burrell is innocent and that Freeman’s suggestion is insufficient.

“Nothing short of vacating his conviction and his immediate release from prison are good enough to effectuate true justice,” Guerrero said.