Officers, neighbors testify in first day of Yim trial

Three Rochester police officers and two who lived on Charles Court Northwest testified Tuesday in the trial of a Rochester man charged with second-degree murder.

Sao Yim Jr.
Sao Yim Jr.

A single shot fired over Sao Yim Jr.’s shoulder was all it took to kill a 40-year-old father of two in March 2018.

That’s what prosecutors said the evidence will show during the court trial, which began Tuesday morning in Olmosted County District Court.

Yim, 26, pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder-without intent and possession of ammo/firearm-conviction or adjudicated delinquent for crime of violence in connection with the March 12, 2018, shooting death of 40-year-old Ahmed Muafaq Abdulhussain Al Naddf on Charles Court Northwest in Rochester.

Yim allegedly shot Al Naddf following a verbal argument over whether Al Naddf hit Yim’s car.

“Whether that happened, we may never know,” Senior Assistant Olmsted County Attorney Erin Gustafson said in her opening remarks.


As Al Naddf pulled his phone out of his pocket, either to call police or record the incident, Yim and three friends started to scatter, Gustafson said. Co-defendant Eric Tyler Lee is expected to testify that he saw Yim take his handgun, thrust it over his shoulder and fire one shot.

Lee was convicted in 2018 of a felony count of aiding an offender for his involvement in the incident and was sentenced 15 months in prison, stayed for 10 years.

In her opening remarks, Yim’s attorney, Amanda Lindberg, urged the judge to pay attention to the questions that are asked by Lindberg and co-counsel Lauri Traub.

First to take the stand Tuesday was Rochester police officer John Compton. Compton was the first officer on scene and performed three to four minutes of CPR on Al Naddf that March night.

He said that he checked Al Naddf for a pulse and then lifted his shirt to see a gunshot or puncture wound in the center of the man’s chest.

A 9-minute video from Compton’s body camera was played, which showed the officer’s arrival and discovery of Al Naddf’s body as well as Compton’s life-saving efforts. After members of the Rochester Fire Department and then-Gold Cross Ambulance arrived, Compton canvassed the area for anyone with information but did not find anything pertinent.

Investigator Richard Dahly found the single .22 caliber "magnum rimfire" shell casing in the road near Al Naddf’s body.

Investigator Anja Kelley conducted the initial contact with Yim's girlfriend and returned to her apartment after surveillance footage determined that suspects in the shooting went to that apartment after the incident. Kelley also took statements from neighbors.


Two people who lived on Charles Court also testified. Andrew Doyen, 32, said he was in his second-floor bedroom when he heard a gunshot. Doyen said he kenneled his dog, then went and saw Al Naddf, whom he did not know, struggling to breathe. Ali Egal testified through a Somali interpreter that he was helping his two eldest children with homework when he heard a bang and then went to his back window and saw someone running or walking. Egal also said he heard the sliding glass door of the townhouse next to him open and close twice.

Lindberg questioned Egal on what he told the officer that night compared to what he testified to in court Tuesday.

The trial resumes Wednesday morning. Six members of the Rochester Police Department are expected to testify, as well as Yim’s girlfriend at the time and Al Naddf’s widow.

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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