Witness testifies Rochester man had asked if he would be killed just hours before his body was found

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Dec. 4—”He said, 'What are y'all going to do, kill me?'”

The words, said as part of Aaliyah Lamb's testimony Friday afternoon in the Olmsted County District Court jury trial for Muhidin Abukar, were the first moments jurors heard that something may have been amiss in the late night hours of March 4 and early morning hours of March 5, 2019.

Abukar, 32, is charged in Olmsted County District Court with aiding and abetting second-degree murder in the death of 28-year-old Garad Hassan Roble. The jury trial began Tuesday morning.

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On Friday afternoon, Lamb said she heard Roble say those words during an argument with Abukar and another woman in the early hours of March 5, 2019. Lamb told police in the days after Roble's death that she thought the argument she heard was a joke.

Roble was found dead by a passing motorist that same day about 3:45 a.m. on 45th Street Southeast, between St. Bridget Road Southeast (County Road 20) and Simpson Road (County Road 1). Roble had been shot 11 times — four times in the head and three times in each arm.

A single gunshot to the back, in which the bullet went through his right lung and heart and came out the left side of his chest, was the most serious wound Roble suffered, Dr. Peter Lin testified Thursday. At the time, Line was the assistant chief medical examiner at the Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner's Office at Mayo Clinic.

On Friday, Lamb testified she was part of the group that was at The Loop in downtown Rochester on the evening of March 4, 2019, along with Abukar and two other people. Roble joined the group at the bar later in the evening after receiving a call from Abukar to come, Lamb said.

At the end of the night at the bar, Lamb said she refused to get in the car with Abukar, Roble and a third man because Abukar “insisted on driving and I felt like he couldn't drive safe.” Surveillance footage from the Third Street Parking Ramp that night shows the vehicle leaving out the garage through its entrance.

Two employees from The Loop testified earlier in the trial that the group had been drinking. One of the employees, Rebecca Rose, said Abukar was “quite inebriated” and that she had to help him count his cash to pay for the group's bill at the end of the night.

Lamb and Abukar's girlfriend took an Uber instead of riding with the men and went back to Abukar's girlfriend's residence. The three men arrived sometime later, according to Lamb. About 2 a.m., Lamb and one of the men got ready to leave. As she went out with him to his car, a second car pulled up behind them and the man Lamb was with said he was worried about the car behind them, she said.

Lamb said she approached the car and spoke with the man inside, who she only knew as “YB.” She then went inside the residence to retrieve a phone. It was then that she heard what she described in court as an argument and Roble's statement “What are y'all going to do, kill me?”

Later that same March 5 day, Lamb said she called YB after hearing rumors that something had happened to Roble, whose nickname was G-Man.

“I wanted to ask him if he knew what happened because he was he last person I saw G-Man with and I wanted to hear his reaction when I said what I said to him,” Lamb said, adding that she told YB that Roble was dead.

Cellphone data, murder weapon shown to jurors

As the trial began on Tuesday, Assistant Olmsted County Attorney Andrew LeTourneau told jurors in his opening statement that Abukar is charged with aiding and abetting because, based on the evidence, prosecutors could not tell them “what exactly happened,” but at the very least, the evidence would show Abukar aided in the murder of Roble.

Using cellphone data, investigators with the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office, with the assistance of the FBI cellular analysis survey team, tracked the movement of Roble, Abukar and a third man, Ayub Abucar Hagi Iman. Iman is charged with second-degree murder in connection with Roble's death.

On Thursday, Olmsted County Sheriff's detective Dan Johnson presented some of the cellphone data. Through Johnson's testimony, jurors were able to see a text conversation between Abukar's and his girlfriend, including texts from her phone asking Abukar if he was coming home at 2:23 a.m. on March 5, 2019.

A data extraction from Abukar's phone showed his phone was powered down at 2:08 a.m. March 5 and was powered up at 2:24 a.m.

On Tuesday, jurors heard testimony from forensic scientists and special agents with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension about shell casings and bullet fragments found at the scene near Roble's body. The shell casings, BCA forensic scientist Travis Melland testified, all came from the same firearm — a Glock handgun that was found by city contractors on the frozen Zumbro River a few days after the March 5 incident.

The trial is scheduled to resume Monday morning and could be handed to the jury for deliberations as early as Wednesday.

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