No extra jail time for defendant in murder case under Moriarty-backed deal 

The family said they believe the judge's hands were tied, leaving him “unable to do more than accept the deal."

Steve Markey was murdered in 2019 during an attempted carjacking. (Photo provided by family)

One of the defendants in a high-profile murder case will serve no extra time in jail under a plea deal approved Thursday, leaving the victim’s family “stunned and shocked.”

Hennepin County Judge Michael Burns signed off on a new plea deal for 20-year-old Husayn Braveheart, who admitted to one count of attempted first-degree assault in exchange for a sentence of 54 months. With credit for time served, he has already satisfied his full sentence and could be released as early as next week.

In October, Burns took the rare step of rejecting a plea deal after weeks of public criticism from Steve Markey’s family, who said they were being “revictimized” by Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty.

Under the original deal, Braveheart pled guilty to one count of aiding and abetting second-degree intentional murder. In exchange, he was to serve up to one year in the workhouse and five years of probation with a suspended prison sentence of 21 years, meaning he would have only served time in prison if he violated the terms of his probation.

“I feel even worse because with the original plea deal, at least he would have had five years of probation. Now, he will have even less supervision. It feels like all my efforts were for nothing and we were all wrong about justice,” Kristin Derus Dore, Markey’s cousin, said Thursday.

She said she believes the judge’s hands were tied, leaving him “unable to do more than accept the [new] deal” since it follows sentencing guidelines for the reduced charge.

Braveheart was 15 in June 2019 when he and Jared Ohsman shot the 39-year-old Markey during an attempted carjacking in Northeast Minneapolis. Ohsman fired the fatal shot, but Braveheart admitted to firing at the car as it drove away, according to a criminal complaint in the case. Braveheart’s accomplice was 16 at the time of the murder and was certified as an adult. He pled guilty to intentional murder and is serving a 21-year sentence.

Husayn Braveheart/Hennepin County Jail

A lower court judge initially ruled that Braveheart’s case should proceed in juvenile court, but that decision was reversed on an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which ruled Braveheart should be certified as an adult.

Markey’s mother said in a letter to Attorney General Keith Ellison this fall that “both of their bullets pierced my beautiful son’s body.”

According to Derus Dore, the family was alerted Wednesday night that the defense had made a “counter offer” but did not receive details on the terms of the offer.

“We found out in court today that the offer was to plead guilty to the much lower charge of attempted assault. The prosecution apparently did not negotiate with the proposal and this deal was presented to the judge today. The victims’ rights statute requires victims to be notified of plea deals prior to them being presented and this was not done. It’s not the first time our rights have been violated under this statute, but the statute doesn’t have any enforcement,” she said.

Moriarty, a former public defender, maintained in a statement Thursday that Braveheart has “made enormous strides and been responsive to treatment during the past five years of his incarceration.”

“That treatment might have prevented this crime in the first place had he received it, and we believe the treatment will prevent a future crime if it continues, which this sentence allows. As always, our heart goes out to the Markey family, who suffered a terrible tragedy,” she said.

Derus Dore relayed that Burns was “disappointed in the treatment [her] family has received” and expressed “strong misgivings about this sentence.”

“The judge expressed concerns that this was not in the interest of public safety,” she said. “However, since the prosecution sunk to a new low and was working in concert with the defense, there was nothing that could be done. Our family is stunned and shocked and extremely sad and fearful. This is in no way justice and it is as disappointing as it is disturbing. Unfortunately, this is not the last case that will be decided this way.”

Braveheart has two pending aggravated robbery cases with hearings scheduled for Monday.


Anthony Gockowski

Anthony Gockowski is Editor-in-Chief of Alpha News. He previously worked as an editor for The Minnesota Sun and Campus Reform, and wrote for the Daily Caller.