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Minneapolis man, convicted as a teen in double murder, now eligible for parole

Morning headlines from Feb. 23, 2024
Morning headlines from Feb. 23, 2024 03:05

MINNEAPOLIS — A Minneapolis man convicted for his role in the killing of a woman and her child is now eligible for consideration of parole following a resentencing.

On Friday, a Hennepin County judge resentenced 32-year-old Brian Flowers to two concurrent sentences of life in prison, with the possibility of release. As a stipulation of the sentencing, Flowers agreed to dismiss a motion for a new trial and to cease his post-conviction litigation.

In 2008, Brian Flowers helped his accomplice Stephon Thompson in the stabbing deaths of Katricia Daniels and her 10-year-old son Robert Shepard in Minneapolis. Officials say Daniels was stabbed more than 100 times inside her home, while her son died after being hit on the head with a television. 

Flowers and Thompson were convicted in 2009 on two counts of murder and each sentenced to two life terms — without the possibility of parole.

Between 2012 and 2016, federal and state case law changed to allow those convicted when under 18 years old to be sentenced to life with the possibility of parole. The changes meant Flowers could be eligible for parole consideration after 60 years, or in 2068.

Eight years later, Flowers was resentenced to two concurrent life sentences, which made him eligible for parole 30 years earlier, or in 2038. The court records say Flowers played a "lesser role" in the murders than Thompson.

Federal and Minnesota law changes played a "significant role" in the revised outcome, officials said.

Last year, Minnesota law changed again regarding juvenile sentencing. Two consecutive life sentences are eligible for parole after 20 years and one or more concurrent life sentences are eligible after 15 years.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi announced the resentencing outcome. Last April, his office was asked by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office to complete the prosecution due to a potential conflict of interest.

Read his full statement below    

"After a lot of work and thorough consideration of all the legal and factual issues involved in this case, we concluded that Mr. Flowers should receive a concurrent sentence for his role in the murders of Katricia Daniels and Robert Shepard. Because we were not involved with the protracted and contentious litigation that this case generated for over eleven years, we could independently evaluate Mr. Flowers' culpability and, in hindsight, take into consideration past judicial rulings and the significant changes to Federal and State laws that occurred during this lengthy litigation. The law is an expression of our community's values and when the law changes to it is important guidance on how prosecutors should exercise our decision making. From our perspective, it is significant that, on appeal, the Minnesota Supreme Court determined in 2010 that Mr. Flowers' role in this case was far less than his co-defendant. We came to the same conclusion after reviewing this case for the past ten months and therefore resolved this case in a manner that reflected his lesser culpability, achieved an end to the litigation, and recognized the reality that the distinction between consecutive and concurrent sentences for Mr. Flowers was small due to retroactive changes in the law made by the Minnesota Legislature in 2023."

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