Teen charged with murder in Zaria McKeever case certified as an adult

Teen charged with murder in Zaria McKeever case certified as an adult

Teen charged with murder in Zaria McKeever case certified as an adult

11 months after Gov. Tim Walz handed prosecution of the Zaria McKeever case to the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, one of the teen suspects has been certified as an adult to face a murder charge.

McKeever, 23, was killed at an apartment in the 6300 block of Zane Avenue North in Brooklyn Park on Nov. 8, 2022.

Foday Kevin Kamara, 17, has been certified as an adult and faces two counts of second-degree murder in connection to her death.

“We are happy for the certification, we have been waiting and wanting this for over a year now,” McKeever’s sister told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on Tuesday. “We are finally entering the Justice part of this case and we hope that it will be served by the end of it all.”

Court documents alleged that McKeever was in the apartment with her new boyfriend when two teens kicked in the door. One of the teens then fired multiple shots, killing McKeever. Those teens told police, according to a criminal complaint, that Erick Dewaun Haynes had given them the gun and told them to shoot McKeever’s new boyfriend.

Haynes was charged in July of 2023 after a grand jury returned an indictment with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of intentional second-degree murder. His trial is scheduled to start on April 1.

Kamara — who was 15 at the time McKeever was killed — told police that he and the other teen tried to get by McKeever to get to her boyfriend. She started approaching with a knife, so Kamara fired nine times and McKeever fell to the ground, according to charging documents. One of the shots also hit the other teen in the leg and required him to be dropped off at a hospital for treatment.

Now certified as an adult, Kamara faces up to 40 years in prison. His first court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

“Zaria McKeever’s death has been devastating and heartbreaking for the family,” the Attorney General’s Office said Tuesday. “We are continuing to hold accountable all the parties responsible for it. We will have more to say at the appropriate time.”

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office also provided a statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on Tuesday, saying, “Based on the Attorney General’s prior comments that even a 15 year old who ‘commits such a horrible murder should serve years in prison’ it was clear they would seek adult certification and decades in prison. So it’s not a surprise that Mr. Kamara now faces adult charges carrying a presumptive sentence of 25 years. We continue to believe the best outcome would be to hold him accountable in a way that protects the public and accounts for his age and extensive history of trauma. Seeking the treatment exclusively available in the juvenile system would have achieved that because it would reduce his likelihood of reoffending in the future.”

When the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office was handling the case, the two teens had been offered plea deals that would’ve given them an expected sentence of around two years at a juvenile correctional facility. That deal led to public outrage, both from law enforcement organizations and McKeever’s family, which called for Walz to give the case to the Attorney General’s Office.

A day after McKeever’s father expressed dismay with the plea deal in an interview with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, Walz announced that he was taking the rare step to intervene, saying Attorney General Keith Ellison requested the case. Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty blasted Walz and Ellison for the move, calling it “unprecedented” and “deeply troubling.”

A total of five people were charged in connection to McKeever’s death.

Haynes’ sister is also charged with aiding after the fact and allegedly dropped off the injured teen at a hospital with her boyfriend, who is also charged. Their trials are also both set to start on April 1.

The injured teen took the plea deal offered by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office and was sentenced in juvenile court at around the time Ellison’s office took over.

Kamara already has a plea hearing scheduled for Friday afternoon.

The latest update in the case also comes amid calls for Walz to again take a case — the prosecution of trooper Ryan Londregan, who is charged with murdering Ricky Cobb II during a traffic stop — from Moriarty’s office and give it to Ellison’s office. On Monday, Walz said that option is still open.