June 18, 2019 06:57 PM
The man accused of being the ringleader in an Eden Prairie home invasion last October, which resulted in the death of a 63-year-old man, pleaded guilty to federal robbery charges Tuesday morning.
KSTP's Eric Rasmussen reports prosecutors are recommending a sentence of up to 30 years in prison for Lennie Dwayne Brooks. In court, prosecutors said the plea agreement would essentially treat the homeowner's death as second-degree murder rather than first-degree murder.
Brooks told the judge he was "unaware" one of his victims was having a heart attack. Prosecutors say they will dispute that assertion at sentencing.
Brooks admitted he searched the home for money and valuables while his younger brother, Randy, pointed a gun at the frightened homeowners.
Randy Brooks also pleaded guilty to the crime.
Accused "ringleader" of deadly Eden Prairie home invasion, Lennie Brooks, just pleaded guilty to federal robbery charges. Faces up to 30 yrs in prison. His lawyer told me "he didn't mean for anyone to die." My original @KSTP story here: https://t.co/JBzRea1d5k— Eric Rasmussen (@Eric_Rasmussen) June 18, 2019
Both brothers and their admitted getaway driver, Autumn Marie Nichols, faced federal charges under the Hobbs Act for allegedly stealing roughly $50,000 from the Shuang Hur Asian Market, which has locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
The robbery happened at the owner's home.
Oukham Oudavanh's death was ruled a homicide by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office. He died as a result of the robbery, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
As part of their guilty pleas, the brothers also admitted to two other home invasion robberies targeting business owners in southern and central Minnesota.
A news release on Tuesday afternoon included reaction from U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald.
"These criminals admitted to a string of violent home invasions that ended in the tragic and senseless loss of life. Small business owners should never have to fear for their lives or the safety of their property, especially in their own homes," MacDonald said.
Attorneys for both brothers told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that the men are remorseful.
"The part that Lennie is struggling with is that he didn't mean for anybody to die," defense attorney Ryan Pacyga said. "While they did certainly cause fear by robbing people in their homes, they never wanted a death to happen and (Lennie Brooks') plea agreement reflects that."
Pacyga said his client also told authorities in April where they could find a stash of stolen jewelry from one of the other home invasion robberies.
The attorney for Randy Brooks said he was not involved in the planning of the robberies.
"Randy is remorseful and he has sympathy and empathy for the victims and certainly regrets his actions that night. His intention wasn't for anybody to die," defense attorney Catherine Turner said.
None of the victims nor their family members were in court Tuesday when the brothers entered their guilty pleas.
Updated: June 18, 2019 06:57 PM
Created: June 18, 2019 11:14 AM
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