Teen sentenced to over 25 years for murder of St. Paul father
A 17-year-old boy has been ordered to spend more than two decades behind bars for the killing of a St. Paul man earlier this year.
Kle Swee was sentenced Wednesday morning to 25½ years in prison for the shooting that killed 44-year-old Michael Brasel. He received credit for 152 days already served.
Brasel was shot and killed in May while trying to stop an attempted car break-in outside his home.
As previously reported by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, Swee entered a guilty plea to the murder charge back in August.
Prosecutors asked for the maximum sentence, while Swee’s attorneys argued he should serve less time, saying what happened was an act of self-defense.
Back in May, Brasel’s wife found him shot outside their St. Paul home on the morning of May 6. A criminal complaint stated Swee and his friend, Ta Mla, were rummaging through Brasel’s wife’s car when Brasel surprised the duo and grabbed Mla.
Mla told police he saw Swee point a gun at Brasel and shoot the father of two.
Swee’s attorneys say he fired those shots to protect his friend, which is why they asked for a lower sentence of 15 years.
The state pushed for the 25½-year sentence, which is the maximum allowed under the terms of a plea agreement.
Several victim impact statements, including from Brasel’s wife and children, were read in court before Swee was sentenced. Swee also offered a brief apology and a statement was read on behalf of his mother.
After handing down the sentence, Judge JaPaul Harris urged Swee to use his sentence as an opportunity to become a better person. The judge also noted some of the victim impact statements highlighted the loss of Brasel’s presence but said he believes the statements made clear that his presence is still with all of his loved ones and his impact lives on.
The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office previously said, “This senseless act of gun violence tore apart a family as well as their community.”
St. Paul police also chimed in on the crime.
“Our gun violence is bad, we need to fix that, but I can tell you if you commit gun violence in this city, we are coming and we are going to find you,” said St. Paul Police Chief Axel Henry.
Meanwhile, records show Mla’s next court appearance is a scheduling conference on Nov. 2. As previously reported by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS in June, Mla has been charged with second-degree murder in connection to Brasel’s death.