Appeals court orders new trial for man convicted of killing star Minneapolis student athlete

ST.. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday threw out the murder conviction and ordered a new trial for a man who allegedly shot and killed a 15-year-old Minneapolis high school student athlete who brushed shoulders with him on a sidewalk.

Cody Fohrenkam was convicted last year of second-degree murder and sentenced to 38 1/2 years in the February 2020 death of Deshaun Hill Jr., an honor roll student and star quarterback at North High School. Hill’s determination to escape poverty and build a better life for his family was highlighted in the 2023 Showtime miniseries “Boys in Blue.”

The Court of Appeals ruled that the trial court erred when it admitted statements that Fohrenkam made to investigators while he was in the Carlton County Jail after his arrest for an unrelated matter. Fohrenkam was handcuffed when the investigators questioned him about Hill’s death, even though it was over an hour after he was ordered to be released on the other matter. The appeals court said the state failed to meet its burden of showing that Fohrenkam’s detention was still lawful, so his incriminatory statements must be suppressed as the product of an unlawful seizure.

Prosecutors said Hill was walking to a bus stop after school when he barely brushed shoulders with Fohrenkam, who was looking for someone who had stolen his cellphone earlier in the day. Fohrenkam allegedly shot Hill in the back several times and fled.

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said it was “deeply disappointed” in the ruling, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. It has 30 days to decide whether to ask the Minnesota Supreme Court to review the case. Fohrenkam will remain in custody in the meantime.