Mahdi Hassan Ali, Seward triple-homicide suspect, presses age dispute

Thanks to some chilling security video, Mahdi Hassan Ali stands accused of being the triggerman at the Seward Market in January 2010 when three people were gunned down in a gruesome robbery gone wrong.

But Ali doesn't want to face a jury as an adult. And yesterday before the Minnesota Supreme Court, his lawyer Frederick Goetz got what is likely to be a last shot at arguing Ali was 15 at the time of the murders.

The issue is Ali's birth certificate: He doesn't have one, just like a lot of Somali immigrants.

When he was arrested after the shootings, the South High School junior's age was given as 17. But when he was later indicted, he said he had no idea when he was born. Thus began a legal entanglement that seemed to end last fall when Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill ruled that Ali would stand trial as an adult based on analysis of his dental records.

Yesterday, Goetz appealed Cahill's ruling.

The birth date on Ali's driver's license is an artificial number ginned up when Ali emigrated as a child, Goetz says, and he could show Ali is younger by tracing his birth back to an African refugee camp.

If the court grants the appeal, Ali's courtroom fate will again be put off for months.

Store employee Abdifatah Warfa, his cousin Mohamed Warfa, and store customer Anwar Mohammed were killed in the shootings.

Another teenager, Ahmed Shire Ali -- no relation -- was arrested and charged as Ali's accomplice.


Sponsor Content


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >