17-year-old gets 11-year sentence for role in Brooklyn Park woman’s murder

17-year-old gets 11-year sentence for role in Brooklyn Park woman’s murder

17-year-old gets 11-year sentence for role in Brooklyn Park woman’s murder

A 17-year-old who pleaded guilty to murdering a Brooklyn Park woman in 2022 will be spending time in prison.

Foday Kevin Kamara was charged in March as an adult with two counts of second-degree murder for the death of 23-year-old Zaria McKeever and entered a guilty plea just days later.

Kamara’s sentence ended up being as expected following a plea deal that was struck last month. He will spend about 11 years behind bars and will also testify against others in the case.

Under the deal, Kamara will spend time at a juvenile center in Red Wing until he turns 18 and will then be transferred to a state prison.

“She was such a beautiful person, and Zaria meant the world to me,” said Tiffynnie Epps, McKeever’s sister.

“She had a beautiful smile that would make you want to smile, too.”

During Wednesday’s hearing, McKeever’s family members asked the judge to uphold the sentence, saying no time served will be sufficient for the family.

Kamara’s attorney, Michael Holland, said that his client “has sincere remorse for what he’s done and the pain he’s caused the McKeever family.” Kamara, however, didn’t offer any statement himself. That frustrated some of McKeever’s loved ones.

“Now, I don’t feel no sympathy, I feel hurt, I feel pain, I feel frustrated and hate,” McKeever’s cousin Alicia Taylor replied when asked about Kamara not speaking in court.

“We do not want you to commit another crime, we want you to grow from this, and learn from this, and be a better person, from the tragedy,” Judge William Koch said.

Initially, Kamara’s case was being handled by Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty’s Office, which offered him a two-year plea deal in a juvenile center focused on rehabilitation. He was 15 at the time of the shooting.

RELATED: Minnesota Attorney General questions plea deals struck by Hennepin County Attorney in murder of 23-year-old

However, Gov. Tim Walz later gave Attorney General Keith Ellison the case after McKeever’s family requested it. Ellison’s office then charged Kamara as an adult. That means Kamara can spend up to 40 years in prison.

RELATED: Walz intervenes, assigns AG Ellison to handle Zaria McKeever murder case

Other defendants in this case include McKeever’s ex-boyfriend, Erick Haynes, who was sentenced to life in prison just last month. Kamara had previously testified Haynes gave him a gun to shoot McKeever’s new boyfriend.

RELATED: Man charged with Brooklyn Park woman’s murder, 2 accused of aiding plead guilty

In March, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS spoke to a community activist close to McKeever’s family, who spoke out about the plea.

“I am going to be satisfied with the state getting 10 years in this case. I am satisfied with that, but it’s not my child. It’s not my sibling who was murdered here,” said activist Lisa Clemons. “But I am satisfied with knowing that the governor and the attorney general stepped in to give value to Zaria McKeever’s life.”

Loved ones are hoping to finally start a proper mourning process.

“In trying to get justice for Zaria, we have not had time to grieve as a family,” Taylor said.