Minneapolis chase, shootout: Man sentenced after incident killed bystander on scooter

A man has been sentenced to more than 24 years in prison for his involvement in a car chase and shooting in the popular North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis in 2021.

Marvel Galvaston Williams was sentenced to 291 months by Hennepin County District Court Judge Juan Hoyos for his role in a chase and shooting that killed a bystander on Oct. 6, 2021. 

Williams had previously pleaded guilty to several charges, including third-degree murder in the death of Autumn Merrick.

Williams admitted he was a passenger in one of two SUV’s that were chasing the other, and firing back-and-forth, before the violent crash that occurred on Oct. 6, 2021.

Merrick was riding a scooter with her friend, getting snacks at the Holiday Gas Station near Target Field when she was struck by one of the vehicles, and ended up pinned underneath.

"She's gone. It hurts me," Merrick’s sister, Ariana told the court during several emotional victim impact statements provided by family members. "I feel like she is still here watching over us."

Autumn Merrick loved animals and had dreams of building her own fashion and beauty business, but loved ones said, those dreams were lost when she died.

"The sad thing about it is she will never grow up into a grown person she wanted to be," Ariana Merrick said through her tears. "She wanted to own her own business."

"I am sad. I am upset. I am just heartbroken that my daughter is not here. I feel lost," said Carmane Teetzel, Autumn’s mother, in court. "When I walk towards my daughter's room, her clothes are still in there. I don't know. I don't know what to do. Every day is a struggle for me." 

According to authorities and court filings, Autumn Merrick was on the scooter near 5th Street North and 6th Avenue North when two vehicles came flying into the area.

Surveillance video captured motorists inside the Range Rover and Dodge Durango, chasing and firing guns between vehicles when they violently crashed.

Merrick was an innocent victim, killed, when she was slammed into a building, and trapped underneath the wreckage.

"She was just such a loving and caring person and didn’t deserve anything like this happening to her," said Merrick’s girlfriend Aiisha Harbin. "I miss her every day. I miss everything about her. I feel like I literally lost myself that day."

Williams was a passenger in the Range Rover. His attorney argued while certainly involved, Williams played a "passive role" in what happened and asked for leniency.

Prosecutors argued for a sentence in the neighborhood of 17 years. But Judge Hoyos went out on his own and hammered Williams with a top-of-the-box sentence of 291 months, more than 24 years in prison.

"I know the area where this happened," Judge Hoyos told Williams during his sentencing hearing. "There's young people there all the time. Every night, the North Loop area between the gas station and many restaurants, many businesses that are there. And this was senseless. And, Mr. Williams, you were a part of this."

In making his decision to sentence Williams so harshly, Judge Hoyos explained Williams has a lengthy criminal record, and his actions that night, admittedly egging on the driver, and likely shooting himself, could have easily ended with additional loss of life.

Meantime, the driver of the Range Rover, Christopher Walker is scheduled for a trial in May.