Brooklyn Park apartment murder: Hennepin County Attorney announces charges against 2 more people

Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty announced two more adults have been charged for their alleged roles in the death of 23-year-old Zaria McKeever, who was fatally shot in her Brooklyn Park apartment late last year. 

The newest felony charges were brought against Eriana Dewauna Haynes, 24, of Brooklyn Center, and Tavion Michael Darnell James, 24, of Brooklyn Park, who each face one count of aiding an offender — accomplice after the fact, Moriarty said during a press conference Friday morning.

Five people have now been charged in connection to McKeever’s death including a 15-year-old, 17-year-old and McKeever’s ex-boyfriend Erick Dewaun Haynes.

"Zaria’s murder was a devastating tragedy," Moriarty said. "Her family and the community are grieving and we are continuing to pursue justice. These additional charges are possible only because we have not stopped in our efforts to investigate this case and hold accountable everyone who played a role. And we will continue this work until justice is done."

But the additional charges did little to provide comfort to McKeever’s loved ones who continue to demand Attorney General Keith Ellison take over the prosecution of the case.

"She's been thrown into Mary's political gain and she's trying to use this as a test dummy," Tiffynnie Epps, McKeever’s sister told FOX 9’s Paul Blume "And I'm sorry, but she picked the wrong family."

The shooting

Last November, investigators allege McKeever’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 15-year-old and 17-year-old boys allegedly left McKeever’s apartment riddled with bullets, while McKeever’s boyfriend jumped out of a second-story bedroom window and ran for help. But when police arrived, they found McKeever fatally shot.

After the shooting, Erick Haynes allegedly told his sister Eriana Haynes and her boyfriend James about what happened, including how one of the teenagers was shot in the leg. Prosecutors say they concocted a story to cover up the murder. Eriana Haynes and James then drove the teenager to the hospital and lied about where he was injured. 

While speaking with investigators Eriana Haynes and James "continued to provide false information to police about what happened and continued to attempt to impede and obstruct the police investigation," charges read.

Prosecutors say Erick Haynes organized the crime because he was angry McKeever ended their relationship. He was charged with second-degree murder with intent and second-degree murder without intent while committing a felony killing. 

Teenagers plead guilty

The two teenagers were charged in juvenile courts. The 17-year-old plead guilty, and the 15-year-old is expected to enter a guilty plea on April 7.

The family previously spoke out against the plea deal and requested the judge to reject it claiming Moriarty cared more about the teenagers who allegedly shot McKeever rather than her. 

Normally, a case of felony murder involving a juvenile would have the Hennepin County Attorney's Office asking the court to certify them as an adult. Former Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman was doing that, but he retired, and Moriarty was elected.

She decided against the adult certification and instead brought forward a deal that includes two years at a juvenile correctional facility, 30 days of home monitoring upon release, and then probation until the age of 21. There is a stayed 150-month sentence if the teen violates the conditions he will go to prison. 

"It's just a distraction," Epps said about these latest charges, arguing Moriarty is just trying to take pressure off her decision to make a plea deal in juvenile court with the young gunman. "Mary is mishandling this case."

If you or someone you know is facing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit the hotline’s website to chat with an expert.