Rochester man sentenced to over 13 years for role in 2019 murder
Muhidin Omar Abukar, 33, of Rochester, was sentenced to over 13 years in prison for his role in the murder of Garad Hassan Roble. Abukar had also been previously convicted of second-degree murder in 2009.
ROCHESTER — A Rochester man was sentenced in Olmsted County District Court on Thursday, June 23, 2022, to 166 months in connection to a murder charge for the 2019 killing of a 28-year-old man.
Muhidin Omar Abukar, 33, pleaded guilty in May to aiding and abetting unintentional and without premeditation second-degree murder and a charge of aiding, and abetting intentional and without premeditation second-degree murder was dismissed. The plea had been reached during jury selection in May.
Abukar will serve a little over nine years in prison and the rest on supervised release, in accordance with Minnesota statute.
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.
"There's still a sense of not knowing why (Roble was killed)," Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrum told the Post Bulletin on Thursday. "We all would love to know why and we're probably never going to know."
Iman was sentenced earlier this month to 27 years for his role in the killing .
At Thursday's sentencing, Abukar's lawyer, Paul Applebaum, attempted to withdraw Abukar's guilty plea because Abukar claimed he was innocent of the crime.
District Judge Lisa Hayne denied that motion, in accordance with Ostrum's objection, saying that the prosecution had offered Abukar a reasonable deal and he offered "no good reason" for his withdrawal.
Abukar later withdrew his motion to withdraw his guilty plea following a victim impact statement from Roble's mother.
The statement from Roble's mother, read by a victim advocate, described Roble as a happy and funny child who grew up in Rochester.
"He had a big kind heart," the statement read. "He was so generous."
Abukar interrupted the reading despite warnings from Hayne.
"I'm not going to listen to a lie," he said in court Thursday.
After Hayne threatened to hold him into contempt, Abukar replied with "Go ahead."
Ostrum told the court that Roble's family has experienced this kind of disrespect for the last three years from Abukar.
Applebaum told the court that he had never seen any disrespect from Abukar until Thursday.
Abukar declined to comment during his hearing Thursday.
In her sentencing, Hayne said she had seen no remorse from Abukar and that she agreed with other victim impact statements that asked for Abukar to receive the maximum sentence for his charge. However, she was bound by the plea agreement, though she conceded that 166 months does not adequately punish him.
The Olmsted County Attorney's Office talked with Roble's family and they were in agreement with the plea deal, Ostrum told the Post Bulletin on Thursday.
"I can't get into all the specifics about why we made that agreement but I think it goes to understanding the devasting impact that this had on the family," Ostrum said. "Nothing can ever bring (Roble) back."
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.
A jury trial for Abukar 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.
Abukar had also been previously convicted of second-degree murder in 2009.