BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (FOX 9) - On Sunday, Zaria McKeever’s supporters and family called on a Hennepin County judge to reject a plea deal for two teens charged with killing their 23-year-old daughter at a Brooklyn Park apartment. The family says their victim rights have been violated while accusing newly elected Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty of "prosecutorial misconduct."
In a meeting last Friday, Zaria’s parents Paul and Maria say Moriarty informed them two of the three defendants in Zaria’s case may avoid trial and be released after a couple of years in a Red Wing juvenile program. Moriarty’s predecessor -- former Hennepin County prosecutor Mike Freeman -- was in the process of having the boys certified as adults before he retired.
"This is a slippery slope, and it will continue to perpetuate itself over and over again like a vicious cycle," father Paul Greer said.
"This is premeditated murder, and we cannot send a message to young people that you can take a life and do two years under a juvenile sentence," community leader Lisa Clemons said. "Mike Freeman was on the right path, and we should’ve followed that path."
Last November, investigators allege Zaria’s ex-boyfriend Erick Haynes bought a gun and ordered two teenagers to kill her new boyfriend, "as well as her if she got in the way."
The then 15-year-old and 17-year-old boys allegedly left Zaria’s apartment riddled with bullets, while Zaria’s boyfriend jumped out of a second-story bedroom window and ran for help. But when police arrived, they found Zaria shot dead.
Now, at an upcoming plea deal hearing on March. 8, Zaria’s family invites anyone in the community to stand in front of the Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center "to get the judge’s attention" as they try to get the plea deal thrown out.
The office of Mary Moriarty sent FOX 9 this statement on Sunday:
"This was a horrific case of domestic homicide involving an adult who exploited his influence over two juveniles to have them carry out his plan. We are seeking justice on behalf of Zaria and her family by aggressively prosecuting this case in a way that does everything in our power to hold those who committed these acts accountable, keep the community safe, and prevent future victims. The juveniles will be incarcerated in a juvenile prison, be required to testify against the adult, and have lengthy adult prison sentences hanging over their heads."