There case against Mahdi Hassan Ali looks pretty tight: He's on videotape pointing a gun at the men who were killed in a robbery gone wrong at Seward Market on January 6th, and his accomplice is ready to testify against him.
But Ali's fate has also been hanging on whether he can ask to be tried as a juvenile. His driver's license says Ali was born January 1, 1993, which would have made him old enough to be tried as an adult.[jump]
But Ali's lawyer, Frederick Goetz, has argued that that birthdate is wrong, an artificial number created when Ali immigrated as a child. Goetz claimed he could show Ali is younger by tracinghis birth back to an African refugee camp.
In the end, the court relied on analysis of dental x-rays to provide an approximate age range. According to the dental expert who testified on the issue, there's a 75 percent chance that Ali was older than 16 at the time of the murders.
Goetz isn't giving up. He says he plans to take the issue to the Minnesota Supreme Court. If that doesn't work, Ali is set to go to trial January 3rd. Tried as an adult, he could well be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.