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Rochester man sentenced to more than 27 years in state prison for aiding and abetting 2019 murder

Ayub Abucar Hagi Iman, 25, was sentenced in Olmsted County District Court on Thursday, June 2, 2022, by Judge Christina Stevens to 326 months in state prison. He will get credit for 36 months and 4 days he has already served.

Iman, Ayub 3.24.22.jpg
Ayub Iman.
Contributed / Olmsted County Sheriff's Office
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ROCHESTER — Minutes before being sentenced to nearly three decades in state prison, the Rochester man convicted of aiding and abetting the murder of a 28-year-old man told the court he did not kill the man.

“I offer condolences to the Garad Roble family. I’m very, very sorry for what happened to Garad Roble,” 25-year-old Ayub Abucar Hagi Iman said. “I did not kill Garad Roble. I did not aid and abet in killing Garad Roble.”

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Iman was sentenced in Olmsted County District Court on Thursday, June 2, 2022, by Judge Christina Stevens to 326 months in state prison. He will get credit for 36 months and four days he has already served.

On April 5, a jury found Iman guilty of a second-degree murder charge, aiding and abetting . The jury deliberated less than four hours before reaching its verdict.

Roble’s body was found by a motorist in the early morning hours of March 5, 2019, on 45th Street Southeast, between St. Bridget Road Southeast (County Road 20) and Simpson Road (County Road 1).

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Stevens said little else in handing down her sentence after hearing arguments from Iman’s attorney, James McGeeney, and Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem.

McGeeney had filed a motion for a downward durational departure for Iman arguing that the facts of his case were “unique and different” from other second-degree intentional murder cases because the identity of the assailant has never been proven. A downward durational departure means a sentence that is less than outlined in state sentencing guidelines.

McGeeney also argued that co-defendant Muhidin Abukar’s likely sentence of 166 months would create a large disparity in sentences that was unjust.

Abukar, 33, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting unintentional and without premeditation second-degree murder on the eve of his retrial. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Lisa Hayne on June 23.

As part of the plea, Abukar admitted he 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.

Stevens ultimately denied the motion.

Ostrem argued for a 391-month prison sentence citing the “brutality of the offense” and said the very violent offense rocked the community.

Nearly a dozen victim impact statements were submitted from Roble’s family to the court in advance of sentencing. Unlike the letters of support filed on behalf of Iman, the victim impact statements are not public documents. Two statements – one from his mother and one from an unnamed family member – were read at the hearing by a victim advocate.

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In the letter written by a family member, the person wrote that Iman was a “evil person” who bragged to the community that law enforcement could not tie him to Roble’s murder.

The letter written by Roble’s mother recalled an outgoing and friendly young man with a “humor and wit that had us in stitches.”

“His loss has devastated us beyond belief,” she wrote.

Nearly two dozen letters of support were submitted to the court on behalf of Iman. The letters asked for leniency for the young man they describe as a bright, kind-hearted and loving.

Before handing down the sentence, Stevens also heard arguments on a motion the defense filed for a new trial. In the motion, McGeeney wrote that he had learned that Abukar admitted in at least two recorded jail calls that “he was tricked by his attorney into pleading guilty and that Abukar knew this defendant was innocent.”

Ostrem stated at sentencing that those calls were not part of the case file and were not public under a data request.

Before his trial, 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. McGeeney said in court Thursday that Iman “was unable” and afraid to take the plea.

Stevens did not rule on that motion, stating that criminal rules for procedure prohibit the court from extending the 15-day deadline that is prescribed when filing for a new trial.

Emily Cutts is the Post Bulletin's public safety reporter. She joined the Post Bulletin in July 2018 after stints in Vermont and Western Massachusetts.
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