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Cody Fohrenkam sentenced to just over 38.5 years in Deshaun Hill's murder

High emotions as Cody Fohrenkam sentenced for Deshaun Hill’s murder
High emotions as Cody Fohrenkam sentenced for Deshaun Hill’s murder 01:50

MINNEAPOLIS -- A judge has sentenced a man to just over 38.5 years in prison in the shooting death of 15-year-old Deshaun Hill.

In sentencing Cody Fohrenkam, Hennepin County Judge Julie Allyn said it was the highest sentence she could give him, and included credit for just over one year served.

Fohrenkam chose not to address the court Tuesday, but his attorney spoke for him, saying he sends his condolences to the Hill family but he maintains his innocence and plans to appeal. 

Emotions were high as Fohrenkam was escorted from the courtroom following sentencing. There was an outburst from family members, shouting such things at him as "F--- you!"

Last month, a jury found him guilty of second-degree murder with intent but not premeditated, and second-degree murder while committing a felony. The jury took all of an hour to reach that verdict. Fohrenkam did not take the stand in his own defense.

Prior to the sentencing, a number of relatives and friends provided impact statements, including Hill's parents and sister, as well as his youth football coach.

Following Tuesday's verdict, Hennepin County Attorney Mary F. Moriarty issued the following statement:

"This sentence brings legal closure to a tragic and senseless act of gun violence that devastated those who knew and loved Deshaun and everyone in the North High School community and beyond. I am grateful to the community members, law enforcement, and our team in the County Attorney's office who played a role in delivering justice for Deshaun and his family. We must address the issues that make violence a viable decision for far too many people. We will continue to work with law enforcement to aggressively prosecute violence and hold those responsible accountable."    

Hill's family attorney, William Walker, acknowledged the court's ruling but says it still doesn't bring back the victim, an honor-roll student.

"We're only grateful that the judge issued the maximum penalty on the law," Walker said.

Hill's mother, Tuesday Sheppard, said the loss of her son has cemented her emotions since day one.

"I still feel the same as I felt on Feb. 9 when it happened," Sheppard said.

She's now working with state leaders to pass a new law that would double the amount of time served behind bars for anyone that commits a similar crime.

"If your over the age of 25 and kill a kid under the age of 18, you get two life sentences," she said.

After the ruling, Hill's mother added an important message and reminder for those in the community who looked up to her son.

"Education is the key to success, and just follow your instincts and dreams, and just work hard at everything you do in life," Sheppard said.

Extended: Cody Fohrenkam sentenced to 38 years, 7 months in Deshaun Hill's murder 09:16

Hill was shot and killed on Feb. 9, 2022, when students were encouraged to leave school early and attend a demonstration following the police killing of Amir Locke. Hill had left school, and prosecutors say surveillance video shows Fohrenkam walk past him moments before gun shots rang out.

Hill was a standout student-athlete at Minneapolis North High.

His trial was set to begin in November, but it was then delayed to January. Furthermore, opening statements were delayed a week. A judge granted the defense's request to delay, because Fohrenkam was "not in a good place," and needed time to deal with his anxiety and frustrations.

Fohrenkam said he was in the area looking for someone who stole his phone.

Prior to the jury's verdict, Minneapolis Public Schools agreed to a $500,000 settlement with Hill's family.

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