Convicted gang leader Lamonte Rydell Martin, 17, was charged Monday for masterminding a network of intimidation against witnesses who had testified against
Martin at his 2007 trial, telling them to recant their stories, news sources report.
Martin was convicted of murder and sentenced to life without parole in 2007, Pioneer Press reports. He also made his case to the Minnesota Supreme Court and they rejected him. Martin, along with nine others, resorted to bribes, intimidation and violence, prosecutors claim, Pioneer Press reports.
"Witnesses to the 2006 murder were repeatedly beaten up and threatened; one person had his neck slit. Another was told his children would be killed if he didn't recant trial testimony." Martin's mother and his companions paid or promised thousands of dollars in return, Star Tribune reports.
Martin's mother was taken into custody Saturday and will be charged with being an accomplice and allegedly put money into one of the witnesses' prison accounts, Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman said at a news conference announcing the charges, Pioneer Press reports.
In a ruling this past summer by the U.S. Supreme Court, "life without parole for juveniles amounts to cruel and unusual punishment". Minnesota is reviewing cases of seven juveniles facing such sentences, including Martin's conviction in 2007 for the killing of 19-year-old Christopher Lynch, Star Tribune reports.
"Martin has now been charged with 12 new felony counts, including bribery, witness tampering and crimes committed in association with a criminal gang," Star Tribune reports.