Man convicted of murdering 17-year-old ordered to serve 23-year prison sentence
A man who pleaded guilty to murdering a 17-year-old Albertville boy who was going to buy a pair of shoes in a Plymouth parking lot will spend years in prison.
Augustus Sirleaf, 20, is one of two people charged for the death of 17-year-old Yaseen Thomas Johnson.
On Tuesday, a judge sentenced Sirleaf to spend 276 months (23 years) in prison for Johnson’s death.
Tears flowed inside a Hennepin County courtroom Tuesday morning during Sirleaf’s sentencing hearing. Johnson’s family said they left Liberia as refugees to escape the violence only to end up losing Yaseen to violence here.
Johnson was a senior at Rogers High School and was planning to study nursing in college.
“He said, ‘Mom, I’m going to make you proud,'” Thelma Gaye, Johnson’s mother, said during Tuesday’s hearing.
“He was robbed of his life,” Gaye added. “I feel like those boys took my life, my son, he had a big dream.”
Court documents say Johnson and a friend met up with Sirleaf and Hans Madave to buy a pair of shoes on the 9700 block of 37th Place North just before 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. A witness told police the two men got in the car, where Johnson took a look at the shoes. Johnson decided he liked them and paid. However, Sirleaf told Johnson to give him the shoes back.
Johnson resisted, and Sirleaf then shot him, according to documents.
“A caring son, he had a smile that would light a room,” Johnson’s stepfather Carter Horace told those in the courtroom Tuesday.
He wiped away tears, adding that Johnson’s death “left a hole in our hearts that will never be filled.”
Sirleaf was subsequently charged with two counts of second-degree murder.
In January of 2023, police said Madave turned himself in, and was charged with the same crimes.
Plymouth Police Chief Erik Fadden has previously spoken about the case, calling Yaseen’s death “tragic” and not something any of the department’s staff will ever forget.
As previously reported, Sirleaf made a deal with prosecutors last November, with one count of second-degree murder expected to be dismissed in exchange for a guilty plea to the other murder charge. Sirleaf is expected to get a 23-year sentence.
Meanwhile, court records show Madave — who also took a plea deal in November — has a sentencing scheduled for Friday, Jan. 10. His deal, if approved, is expected to result in a sentence of 12-15 years in prison.