In a turn of events that has shifted the landscape of legal judgment in Minnesota, two women who were previously convicted in the fatal home invasion of Corey Elder have been released from prison following the changes in state law regarding felony murder.
Megan Cater and Briana Martinson, who pled guilty to aiding in Elder's murder nearly seven years ago, saw their sentences significantly reduced after the Minnesota legislature amended the laws on aiding and abetting felony murder. The revised law now requires evidence of direct commitment or direct assistance in the murder to warrant a charge. The newfound freedom for the pair was reported by FOX 9.
The deadly incident unfolded on April 27, 2017, when Cater and Martinson, alongside two other culprits, broke into Elder's Bloomington residence with intent to pilfer drugs. As they rifled through the victim's belongings, their cohorts subjected Elder to a violent assault, leading to his tragic demise. Last Thursday's charges originally implicated two counts of second-degree murder among other charges, as detailed in a report from KARE 11.
In light of the legislative reform, both women were resentenced for the lesser crime of aiding and abetting in the first-degree burglary of Elder’s home. Cater's new sentence totaled 69 months, while Martinson received 57 months, both having already served over six years in prison. Amidst their unexpected release, the Hennepin County Attorney’s office expressed support for their resentencing, stating, "Ms. Cater and Ms. Martinson have been held accountable for the harm that they actually intended."
Murray, Cater's attorney, lauded the state legislature’s decision, claiming it as a pivotal moment for individuals serving disproportionate sentences relative to their involvement in crimes. Similarly, Martinson's attorney, Colbert, reflected on the severity of the loss experienced by Elder’s family and acknowledged his client's remorse. The community watches as Minnesota takes a step forward in untangling legal culpability from draconian liabilities.