Minnesota woman convicted of killing her husband pleading for a pardon

Updated: June 25, 2019 10:14 PM

A woman who killed her husband in Richfield is pleading for a pardon.

Amreya Shefa was found guilty of manslaughter for stabbing her husband in 2013.


Shefa says if she does not get a pardon, she will be deported to Ethiopia, where her husband's family will have her killed.

After a two hour meeting with the Minnesota Board of Pardons Tuesday, Shefa's fate is still undecided. In order to grant the pardon, the vote needs to be unanimous.

"Please forgive me," Shefa said in front of the board. 

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Shefa had ten minutes to plead her case one more time from a Kandiyohi County Jail where she called in to the pardon meeting. 

"I am very remorseful for killing my husband," Shefa said. 

A room full of people listened as Shefa says she didn't know she had any other options to escape what she calls was an abusive husband.

"I wish I could go back to fix what I did, but I cannot," she said.

In 2014, Shefa was convicted for killing her husband Habibi Tesema. A criminal complaint says Shefa stabbed him about 30 times during an argument at their Richfield home. Now, after completing her sentence, she awaits deportation to Ethiopia. A pardon would likely keep her in the United States.  

"My life is in danger if I go back to Ethiopia," Shefa said. 

But Tesema's family gave tearful testimony opposing the pardon.

"She's over jealous, she killed him, she murdered him only over jealousy," said Ahmed Tesema, the victim's brother. 

The three pardon board members include Gov. Tim Walz, Attorney General Keith Ellison and Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea.

Walz called Shefa's plea a"complicated issue."  But that's when Gildea caught many people off guard. 

"Maybe I should just say this now, I don't support the pardon," Gildea said. "The crime caused the death of a person, so it's on that basis that I don't support Ms. Shefa's pardon application."

"I think she was giving an indication of how she felt about it, but we're hopeful that with additional opportunities that perhaps maybe we might be able to figure out a way for her vote our way," said Linus Chan, Shefa's attorney. 

Chan says there is currently a stay on her removal until the resolution of this meeting.
The board did not set a date for when they will resume.

KSTP reached out to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for any updates on Shefa's status but did not hear back. 

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Brett Hoffland

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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