Early release of felons questioned by Bloomington Police Chief

The Bloomington Police Chief is speaking out, upset about the early release of two women from prison after a change to the state’s felony murder law.  

Chief Booker Hodges said Friday that the women should still be in prison for their role in the 2017 murder of Corey Elder.

"I hope you learned a lot from this," Hodges said in a video released on the police department’s social media channels. "But bottom line is, you should have still continued to serve the time."

Hodges was not Bloomington Police Chief at the time of the homicide that involved half a dozen co-conspirators.

Nonetheless, the chief took to social media to rail against the law change while, at times, holding up the prison mugshots of Megan Cater and Briana Martinson and at times, speaking directly to them.

"Crocodile tears. It is amazing what some people get with crocodile tears," Hodges said during the approximate three-minute recording.

Cater and Martinson were part of a group of six who ultimately pleaded guilty to felony murder charges in the deadly shooting of the 19-year-old Elder.

The women were sentenced to matching 13.5-year prison sentences for scheming to break in and steal drugs from Elder inside his Bloomington apartment.

They were charged with aiding and abetting murder after two men, Maurice Verser and Tarrance Murphy, violently assaulted and then killed Elder.

Last year, Minnesota’s legislature rewrote the laws on felony murder, strengthening the language, so only major participants in the actual killing can face the harshest consequences – sometimes even life in prison for their lesser roles.

Lawmakers made the changes retroactive, so those already serving their time can be re-sentenced on lesser charges. 

For Cater and Martinson, it was aiding and abetting first-degree burglary, and with time already served, they were released from the Shakopee women’s prison last week, more than two-and-a-half years early.

The victim’s loved ones have already shared their anger and frustration with FOX 9. Chief Hodges joined them on Friday.

"The family of Mr. Elder, I know you are frustrated that he is not here and saddened. But just know that there are a lot of us in the system. It might not seem like it, there is still focus on victims. And I will always focus on victims," Hodges concluded his video.

Two other convicted felons in this case, Alec Streit and Noah Peterson, who waited in the car when Elder was killed, are appealing their original sentences with the courts.

Ultimately, this decision is up to a judge.

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office supported Cater and Martinson’s efforts to have their charges reduced.