MINNEAPOLIS– As carjackings run rampant on the subway, suspects slowly work their way through the justice system.
But not all victims have their day in court. WCCO has tracked and tracked carjacking arrests, charges and convictions in Minneapolis for the first full year with data: 2021. Some victims are struggling to find the solution after an unexpected turn in their case.
It was in her south Minneapolis garage where Melanie McCall says a young man pointed a gun to her head, demanding her car keys.
“Every step of the way was, ‘Hurry up or I’ll kill you. Do it now or I’ll kill you,'” McCall said.
The carjackers got away with the two vehicles in the garage in December. They were recovered while McCall waited to find out who was responsible.
“We would like to see them arrested, held accountable, we would like to look them in the eye,” McCall said.
She says she had a curveball thrown at her this spring. His investigator told him they had a suspect.
And this 21-year-old suspect was found dead. WCCO discovered it was an accidental fentanyl overdose in late March.
“Well, at least he can’t hurt anyone else. That was immediately replaced by sadness. I wanted him to be accountable, I didn’t want him to die. The fact that he was death is a tragedy,” McCall said.
McCall’s case is not counted in carjacking arrest statistics in Minneapolis. Last year, less than 15% of cases led to arrests. The Hennepin County District Attorney’s Office has charged 90 cases, the majority of them minors
Since our last check, their sentences hadn’t changed much. Another has been certified as an adult, bringing the number to six. Sentences range from four to eight years. The pending case has been dismissed and the last case is pending. The majority of the data is private because the suspect is under 16 years old.
In addition to minors certified as convicted adults, seven adult suspects were convicted of flight from police and aggravated robbery. WCCO found sentences ranging from one year and a day to eight years. A judge sent a carjacker to a diversion program. Six had their cases thrown out for lack of evidence or as part of plea deals. The remaining cases are still pending in the system.
McCall says his carjacking changed the way he lives.
“We’re looking over our shoulder, we’re scared,” McCall said.
She wishes to have her day in court.
“[I have to] come to terms with the fact that it won’t have any sort of closure in the traditional sense,” McCall said.
And she hopes that more victims will find the solution through the justice system.
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