Plymouth shoe sale shooting codefendant wants to withdraw murder plea

A man who pleaded guilty in a deadly shoe-sale robbery in Plymouth is now asking a judge to allow his case to go to trial.

Hans Madave stunned his defense attorney and his own family when he tried to withdraw his guilty plea on Monday as the 20-year-old expressed his willingness to risk his plea agreement with prosecutors and, instead, take his chances with a jury.

"We are ready to fight," said Thelma Gaye, mother of shooting victim Yaseen Johnson. "Yeah, we will go to trial if we have to."

Johnson’s loved ones left the Hennepin County courthouse defiant after they showed up for what was scheduled to be Madave’s sentencing. But instead, they watched and listened from the gallery as Madave attempted to withdraw his guilty plea in the case.

Said Gaye, "They had a gun. If you take a gun, a loaded weapon to a robbery. Yes, anything could happen which something did happen. They killed my son. And he is not just going to get away with it."

Madave, of New Hope, had previously admitted his role in the deadly robbery plot with codefendant Augustus Sirleaf. Madave signed his guilty plea petition four months ago.

Authorities have said Madave and Sirleaf lured Johnson to a Plymouth apartment complex parking lot on Nov. 14, 2022, with the promise of selling him a high-end pair of shoes.

Sirleaf was previously sentenced to 23 years in prison, telling the court, he only opened fire when he spotted a gun in Johnson’s waistband.

"I am truly sorry to the family. I never intended for any of this to happen," Sirleaf said at his January sentencing hearing.

As for Madave, he had a plea agreement in place with prosecutors on a charge of aiding and abetting second-degree murder that included a promise to testify against Sirleaf. But that became moot when Sirleaf pleaded guilty himself. 

In exchange, the state had said, it would argue for a sentence of 15 years. His defense attorney stated he was ready to ask for a 12.5-year sentence.

But on Monday, against the advice of his own lawyer and family, Madave told Hennepin County District Court Judge Daniel Moreno, he wants to throw out his plea and instead risk a trial where a conviction could lead to 25 years or more in prison.

Judge Moreno gave both sides until May 1 before making any ruling in the case. The delay, in part, to get the transcript from Madave’s original guilty plea to allow attorneys to see exactly what Madave said in court that day. Ultimately, Moreno will need to decide whether to allow Madave to withdraw his plea and instead head to trial.