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Rochester man pleads guilty to 2019 murder, to receive over 13 year prison sentence

Muhidin Abukar, 33, entered into a plea agreement Monday, May 16, 2022, shortly before his trial was set to begin for his role in the death of a 28-year-old Rochester man.

Muhidin Omar Abukar.png
Muhidin Omar Abukar
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ROCHESTER — A Rochester man entered into a plea deal in Olmsted County District Court Monday, May 16, 2022, shortly before his trial on a second-degree murder charge for the 2019 killing of a 28-year-old man was set to begin.

Muhidin Abukar, 33, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting unintentional and without premeditation second-degree murder, according to a news release from Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem. A charge of aiding and abetting intentional and without premeditation second-degree murder was dismissed.

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The agreement was reached during jury selection Monday. Under the agreement, Abukar will receive a 166-month prison sentence.

Abukar and another man, Ayub Abucar Hagi Iman, 25, of Rochester, had been charged in the death of Garad Hassan Roble.

Roble's body was found by a passing motorist in the pre-dawn hours of March 5, 2019, on 45th Street Southeast, between St. Bridget Road Southeast (Olmsted County Road 20) and Simpson Road (Olmsted County Road 1). Roble died as the result of multiple gunshot wounds, including at least one head wound and another in the abdomen, according to court documents.

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According to Ostrem, Abukar admitted he was with Roble that night with Iman. Abukar and Iman drove with Roble to a rural area south of Rochester where Roble and Iman got out of the vehicle. Abukar heard gunfire and then Iman got back into the car and the pair left the scene. Abukar cleaned the gun after being dropped off by Iman in northwest Rochester and tossed the firearm off the Elton Hills bridge.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 23.

One of Abukar's attorneys, Paul Applebaum, wrote in an email to the Post Bulletin that the county attorney's plea offer came down from 360 months in prison to 166 months in prison on the morning jury selection began.

"Given the State’s capitulation, it made obvious sense for Mr. Abukar to resolve his case — in particular, since his co-defendant had already gone to trial,” Applebaum wrote.

A jury trial was held late last year but ended in a mistrial after jurors were unable to come to a unanimous verdict following approximately 18 hours of deliberations. Throughout the course of that trial, jurors heard from more than 30 witnesses, including forensic scientists and special agents with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, a special agent with the FBI and members of the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office. Abukar did not testify.

Iman was found guilty by an Olmsted County District Court jury in April of a second-degree murder charge, aiding and abetting.

Iman declined a plea offer from prosecutors that would have seen him plead guilty to aiding an offender after the fact and be sentenced to 50 to 81 months in state prison.

In that case, jurors deliberated less than four hours before reaching their verdict. Iman is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Christina Stevens on June 2. He is being held without the right to bail. He had previously been held on $1 million bail since June 14, 2019.

Mark Wasson has been a public safety reporter with Post Bulletin since May 2022. Previously, he worked as a general assignment reporter in the southwest metro and as a public safety reporter in Willmar, Minn. Readers can reach Mark at mwasson@postbulletin.com.
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