Murder trial enters second week

Apr. 3—ROCHESTER — Over the course of four days last week, Olmsted County prosecutors called nearly two dozen witnesses to testify in the trial of a Rochester man charged in connection to the 2019 murder of a 28-year-old man.

The witnesses included members of the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office, Rochester Police Department and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension as prosecutors build their case against Ayub Abucar Hagi Iman.

Iman, 25, is charged in Olmsted County District Court with aid and abet second-degree murder in the death of 28-year-old Garad Hassan Roble.

Roble’s body was found by a motorist in the pre-dawn hours of March 5, 2019, on 45th Street Southeast, between St. Bridget Road Southeast (County Road 20) and Simpson Road (County Road 1).

Former assistant

Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Peter Lin testified that Roble had 11 gunshot wounds

, the most serious of which was a shot to his back that entered his lung, heart and aorta before exiting the front of his body.


forensic scientist Mckenzie Anderson testified

that while DNA was found on the semiautomatic .40-caliber Glock handgun, there was either DNA from too many people without a clear major contributor or too little to test.

The handgun that is believed to have fired those bullets was found three days after Roble’s death by two civil engineers on top of the frozen Zumbro River near the Elton Hills Drive Northwest bridge.

BCA forensic scientist Travis Melland testified that 10 cartridges found at the scene with Roble’s body bore the markings of having been fired from the handgun.

On Friday,

testimony came from a former Rochester woman who was with Roble and Abukar

in the hours before Roble’s death. The witness, Aaliyah Lamb, is the only person to testify to seeing Roble, Muhidin Abukar and Iman on March 5, 2019.

Abukar, 33, is also charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. His jury trial last year ended in a mistrial. A second trial is scheduled for May 2022.

Lamb testified that she overheard a conversation between Roble, Abukar and Abukar’s girlfriend. «G-man had asked if they were going to kill him,» Lamb said, of Roble asking the two others.

Through Lamb’s testimony, prosecutors were also able to connect Iman to the nickname «YB.» The detail will likely be important as prosecutors work to connect Iman to phone numbers tracked by law enforcement through cell tower data that they say place him with Roble at the scene of Roble’s death.

That cell phone evidence began to be presented to the jury through the testimony of Olmsted County Sheriff’s detectives Dan Johnson and Chad Winters.

Defense attorney James McGeeney had argued that the evidence may show phones associated with Iman, Roble and Abukar were together, but the evidence cannot prove that Iman was with the phone.

McGeeney told jurors in his opening statements that the only thing prosecutors could definitely prove was that Roble was shot to death.

Assistant Olmsted County Attorney Andrew LeTourneau told the jury in his opening statements told the jury that while prosecutors could not say exactly who pulled the trigger 11 times, killing Roble, the evidence would show «at the very least, Ayub Iman aided and abetted the murder of Garad Roble by driving him to his death.»

The case went to trial just over three years after Roble’s death. Iman declined a plea offer from prosecutors that would have seen him plead guilty to aiding an offender after the fact and be sentenced to 50 to 81 months in state prison.

The trial will likely be sent to the jury for deliberations as early as Tuesday morning, April 5, 2022. Fourteen jurors — eight women and six men — were chosen to hear the case but ultimately only 12 of them will participate in deliberations.

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