PLYMOUTH, Minn. (FOX 9) - On the day his trial was set to begin in Hennepin County District Court, a gunman pleaded guilty to murder in the slaying of a teenager during a robbery set-up over an expensive pair of shoes.
Augustus Sirleaf pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the slaying of Yaseen Johnson, nearly one year ago to the day.
Johnson, 17, thought he was meeting up with Sirleaf to buy the shoes outside of a Plymouth apartment complex. Instead, Sirleaf tried to rob Johnson during the bogus sale.
Sirleaf admitted in court that he pulled out his firearm, and when he saw a gun in Johnson’s waistband, he opened fire. Johnson never pulled out his weapon, but was killed.
As part of the plea, Sirleaf agreed to a 23-year prison sentence that Johnson’s family said is not enough.
"They are just evil. They took his life," Thelma Gaye, Johnson’s mother told FOX9’s Paul Blume during an interview in the courthouse Monday. "You put the gun up, you put it in his face, you shot two rounds in his head and one in his chest. So, what else do they need to have in order for him to get life in prison? He is evil."
The 23-year sentence is within state sentencing guidelines for second-degree murder.
With time served, the now 20-year-old Sirleaf will likely spend just shy of 15 years behind bars, the rest of the sentence on some form of supervised release.
Upsetting Johnson’s loved ones even further, prosecutors had agreed to a plea deal with Sirleaf’s primary accomplice last week, Hans Madave, who agreed to testify against Sirleaf.
The family just feels the pair is getting off easy.
"It is a life. You took a life. You do not deserve your freedom," Gaye concluded.
Sirleaf is scheduled to be formally sentenced on Jan. 2.