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Who is Marvin Haynes?

Haynes, 36, spent nearly 20 years in prison for the murder of flower shop clerk Randy Sherer in north Minneapolis in 2004, when Haynes was a teenager. On Monday he was exonerated when Judge William Koch signed an agreement between Haynes and the Hennepin County Attorney's Office — which charged him in the murder of Sherer, 55 — saying a flawed investigation violated Haynes' rights and led to his wrongful conviction.

What happens to Haynes now?

Haynes was immediately released on Monday morning from the Stillwater prison, where he was serving a life sentence. His lawyers with the Great North Innocence Project and his sisters waited outside amid a crowd of cheering supporters and TV cameras. He told reporters he first planned to visit his mother, whom he had not seen in several years following her stroke. Since Haynes was cleared of the murder, he is no longer under any sort of state supervision and his felony conviction is erased. He will be eligible to have his voting rights restored.

Can Haynes be financially compensated for his wrongful conviction?

Under Minnesota law, individuals who have their criminal cases exonerated and no outstanding felony charges are entitled to financial compensation by the state for lost wages and an array of other damages, like physical and psychological injury.

"That's a very broad definition that Marvin clearly satisfies," said Haynes' lawyer Andrew Markquart of the Great North Innocence Project. "I honestly can't even imagine a counter argument."

While some states offer set amounts regardless of how much time was served, Minnesota law offers no less than $50,000 per year of imprisonment — and there's no cap on payment for emotional ­distress and injuries.

By that measure, Haynes could be entitled to at least a $1 million in compensation, before damages. But he must first file a petition seeking that relief, which the state has a right to dispute.

The final determination is made by a panel of judges and attorneys, who forward the amount of damages to state lawmakers for approval.

What specifically was Haynes convicted of?

In 2004, a robber shot and killed Sherer in his family's flower shop on N. 33rd and Lyndale avenues in north Minneapolis. Police found no physical evidence to identify the killer. Sherer's sister Cynthia McDermid was the only eyewitness. She described her brother's killer as a thin, Black male who was nearly 6 feet tall, 180 pounds, with "close-cropped" hair.

Haynes, then 16, was arrested for missing court on a curfew violation. He stood 5 feet 7, weighed 130 pounds and sported a long afro. But instead of showing McDermid an up-to-date booking photo of Haynes, investigators used a two-year-old mugshot of him with short, close-cropped hair matching the witness' description. She eventually picked Haynes. This evidence was used at Haynes' murder trial, and a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder.

Will police reopen the case or attempt to find the real killer?

McDermid, the main witness, died in 2020. However, MPD spokesman Sgt. Garrett Parten said the case is under review.

"Justice is a right for everyone, and the justice system requires fundamental fairness in all prosecutions, especially those accused of the most serious crimes," Parten said in a statement. "Over the last two decades, there have been significant advances in eyewitness identification procedures as well as technological advances like facial recognition, the widespread presence of cameras, license plate readers, and cell phone tracking. These investigative tools can sometimes identify additional or different evidence to supplement existing information."

Will there be any sanctions to the police, witnesses or prosecutors involved in the case?

No. One of the lead investigators in the case, retired police Sgt. Michael Keefe, testified in support of Haynes' exoneration — and that eyewitness McDermid did nothing wrong, having tried in good faith to identify her brother's killer. Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty said the office's former prosecutors were responsible for the conviction.

Retired Hennepin County prosecutor Mike Furnstahl defended his prosecution, saying he was "appalled" by Moriarty's decision and believed Haynes' conviction had been "solid."

Can Haynes sue the city, county or state for his wrongful conviction?

Nothing precludes Haynes from filing a civil suit against Minneapolis or Hennepin County arguing that his constitutional rights were violated, attorneys say.

Wasn't another Minnesota prisoner recently released under similar circumstances?

Three years ago this month, Myon Burrell was released from the Stillwater prison after the Minnesota Board of Pardons voted to commute his life sentence in the 2002 killing of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards.

Burrell, 37, was 16 when rival gang members identified him to police as the person who fired the fatal shots, sending a stray bullet into Edwards' home and killing her as she did homework at the dining room table. He has long maintained his innocence.

Gov. Tim Walz, a member of the Board of Pardons, proposed commuting Burrell's life term to 20 years and requiring him to serve the remainder of the time — two years — on supervised release.

Walz noted that the board's commutation was not a determination of guilt or innocence, but was motivated by the "exceptionally long" sentence he received as a minor.

How many people like Haynes have been cleared by the Innocence Project?

As of June 30, there have been 245 Innocence Project victories, according to their website.