Two women have been released early from a Minnesota prison after a change in murder law
Minneapolis (Fox 9) – Two women released from prison this week may be the first inmates in Minnesota to have their sentences commuted under new legislation that redefines the crime of aiding and abetting murder.
Megan Cutter and Brianna Martinson were charged and eventually pleaded guilty Assisting in the murder of Corey Elder in Bloomington Nearly seven years ago. The motive behind the murder was Attempted drug theft From the victim.
Authorities acknowledged that Cater and Martinson had lesser roles in the killing. According to court documents, the two women broke into Elder’s apartment on April 27, 2017, in a group of four. As they entered and ransacked the apartment in search of drugs, the two other defendants violently assaulted Elder before killing him.
Women received it initially Matching prison sentences of 13.5 years. However, the state legislature recently rewrote the laws regarding aiding and abetting voluntary manslaughter so that only those who directly commit or directly assist the murder can be charged with the crime. Supporters of the change said it was important because those convicted of murder could be sentenced to life in prison. The new law could also be applied retroactively to those already imprisoned.
This week, Cater and Martinson were re-sentenced on charges of aiding and abetting first-degree robbery after Elder’s family submitted a victim impact statement to the court. Received food for 69 months (5.75 years). I have already served more than six years. Martinson’s sentence was reduced to 57 months (4.75 years). She also served more than six years. The two women were subsequently released from prison on the same day. It was originally scheduled for release in the fall of 2026.
“We are grateful that Megan Cater has been given this second opportunity by Minnesota lawmakers to return to society,” said Cater’s attorney, Jane Ann Murray, who believes the women are the first to have their convictions reduced and re-sentenced through a newly established court process. . “There are too many people serving long sentences in Minnesota prisons that do not reflect their simpler, less culpable roles in their crimes.”
“Ms. Martinson is grateful that the Minnesota Legislature recognized that Minnesota’s previous homicide law created a significant disconnect between responsibility and guilt,” added Martinson’s attorney, Bradford Colbert. “Although she played no role in the tragic death that occurred, she understands the gravity of the loss and trauma that night caused to so many. She is horrified by what happened, and deeply regrets her role in the events of that evening.”
Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty, whose office was supportive of Cater and Martinson’s post-conviction appeal for re-adjudication in the case, issued the following statement to FOX 9: “This outcome is an important step toward improving fairness and justice in our legal system. Ms. Cater and Ms. Martinson have been held accountable for The harm they actually intended. They served their sentence, but they should not serve any more time for a crime they never committed.
Last year, the Legislature made an important change to the law to ensure that people can only be charged with murder if they caused death, intended to cause death, or were principal participants in the underlying felony that resulted in death. None of these circumstances applied to Ms. Martinson or Ms. Cater. “Under the law, they will now not be eligible to be charged with murder, which is why the law provides for their retrial.”
(Tags for translation)Brianna Martinson