After 2 Trials – Murder Charge Against Rochester Man Dropped
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - After two trials ended with hung juries, Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem has decided to dismiss the second-degree murder charge faced by a Rochester man.
The announcement came a day before a review hearing was scheduled in the case of 26-year-old Alexander Weiss, who was twice brought to trial for shooting and killing 17-year-old Muhammed Rahim during a confrontation that followed a minor traffic crash in January 2018. In both trials, with the most recent taking place last month, the jurors were unable to reach a verdict and mistrials were declared.
“It is a difficult decision, telling a family we cannot move forward to bring justice for a loved one’s death.” commented Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem. “I believe strongly that Mr. Weiss’s decision to shoot Muhammed Rahim was unjustified. The law requires that deadly force be employed only after attempts to avoid danger have been made and there is no other option.”
Ostrem noted his office has had the opportunity to survey and speak with several jurors and it’s clear that it’s highly unlikely to reach a unanimous decision in future attempts. A memorandum filed on Friday by the defense attorney for Alexander indicates 8 of the 12 jurors in the most recent trial voted for his acquittal following his testimony that he was acting in self-defense.
Ostrem says the public input to his office concerning the case has also been split and recognizing that provided his staff with insight into future juror panels and the difficulty in obtaining a unanimous decision. He also stressed the decision to dismiss should not be viewed as an acquittal or exoneration.
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