Man gets 39 years for attempted murder of 2 Somali men

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Hennepin County Judge Kathryn Quaintance on Monday sentenced Anthony Sawina to 39 years in prison for the shooting of two Somali-American men in a car on their way to prayers.

The sentence is longer than what prosecutors had asked for after jurors convicted Sawina of nine felony counts last month, including attempted premeditated murder.

After the sentence was announced, Sawina sharply rebutted without raising his voice, as he told court officials, “You are the criminals here.”

“I don’t blame him for being upset. What he said afterwards I think was his reaction to an excessive sentence,” Sawina’s attorney, Murad Mohammad said in an interview outside the courtroom. “He probably shouldn’t have had an outburst in court like that.”

In court, Mohammad argued his client fired at the men in self-defense. One of Sawina’s friends who had been out drinking with Sawina at a Dinkytown bar the night of the shooting said it wasn’t justified.

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