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Minnesota women convicted in connection with murder released early from prison because of new change to law

minnesota-women-convicted-in-connection-with-murder-released-early-from-prison-because-of-new-change-to-law
Minnesota women convicted in connection with murder released early from prison because of new change to law

Two women who previously pleaded guilty in connection with the killing of a Minnesota man during an attempt to steal drugs were released from prison last week after their sentences were reduced under a new state that redefines aiding and abetting murder. 

Megan Cater and Briana Martinson were charged in the 2017 slaying of Corey Elder, 19, in Bloomington, Fox Minneapolis reported. The killing was motivated by an attempt to steal pills from the victim.

The pair stormed into Elder’s apartment on April 27, 2017, with two others. Cater and Martinson ransacked the home while the other two suspects violently assaulted Elder before fatally shooting him, authorities said. 

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Minnesota women released from prison

Megan Cater, left, and Briana Martinson, right, were released early from prison after being resentenced under a new Minnesota murder law.  ( Minnesota Department of Corrections)

The two women were each sentenced to 13.5 years in prison after striking plea deals to avoid life sentences. However, state lawmakers recently redefined laws on aiding and abetting murder, meaning only those who directly commit a murder or directly aided a killing can be charged with the crime. 

The new law can be applied retroactively to those already in prison. 

Cater and Martinson were resentenced on lesser aiding and abetting first-degree burglary crimes after Elder’s family provided a victim impact statement to the court. Cater received more than 5 years. She had already served more than six years. 

Martinson’s sentence was reduced to nearly five years after having served more than six years. Both women were released from prison that day. They were originally scheduled to be released in the fall of 2026.

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“We are grateful Megan Cater has been given this second chance by Minnesota legislators to reenter society,” said Cater’s attorney, JaneAnne Murray. “There are too many people serving lengthy sentences in Minnesota’s prisons that do not reflect their minor and less culpable roles in their offenses.”

Martinson’s attorney, Bradford Colbert, said that while her client “did not play a role in the tragic death that occurred, she understands the gravity of the loss and the trauma that night caused for so many.”

Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty, whose office supported the petition for resentencing, told the news outlet that the new law is an effort to ensure major participants of a murder face the most harsh consequences. 

“We’re not talking about people who are innocent of everything. We’re recognizing exactly the role that they played,” she said. “The court makes the final decision and in this case the court chose to re-sentence these women for what they actually did.”

Bobbie Elder, Corey’s mother said the family believes the criminal justice system has let their son down.

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“Although this change in law has its time and place for being warranted, this case is not one of them. Megan Cater and Brianna Martinson were the masterminds behind the events that led up to my son, Corey Elder’s, murder,” she said. “

“They were the ones that had and arranged the entire plan, including ensuring there was a gun present,” she added. “They have convinced themselves and their families as a false narrative that paints them as victims, which is the opposite of the facts.”

In total, six people were convicted in connection with Elder’s murder. 

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