Attorney General Ellison’s Office to prosecute murder of Zaria McKeever

April 6, 2023 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison issued the following statement upon accepting Governor Tim Walz’s referral under Minnesota law of the prosecution of the murder of Zaria McKeever. Ms. Keever, a 23-year-old mother of a 1-year-old child, was murdered in her Brooklyn Park home on November 8, 2022. Two juveniles and three adults have been charged in the murder.   

My request to Governor Walz to assign the prosecution of this case to my office is one I did not make lightly. I requested that Hennepin County refer the prosecution of this case to my office, as the law provides, but they declined to do so. The Governor’s power under state law to assign criminal cases to the Attorney General has been used and should be used very sparingly, and I do not expect to make a request like it again.  

A prosecutor is a minister of justice, and justice is comprised of both accountability and mercy. While I share the belief that too many juveniles are involved in the adult criminal-justice system, accountability for the seriousness of this crime has been missing in this case. I respect that county attorneys are duly elected by their constituents to exercise their discretion; however, the disposition of the juvenile shooter that Hennepin County has proposed in this case is disproportionate to the seriousness of the crime committed and falls far short of the family’s and community’s expectations for justice and safety. My office will pursue justice in all its aspects in the prosecution of this case.  

This statement constitutes the totality of the Attorney General’s comment on this matter until further notice.