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Minnesota man convicted of double murder now eligible for parole due to federal, state law changes

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A Minnesota man who was convicted in the killing of a mother and her 10-year-old son in Minneapolis in 2008 was re-sentenced Friday to two concurrent life sentences with the possibility of release, officials confirmed to Fox News Digital. 

Brian Flowers, 32, was 16 when he helped his accomplice Stephon Edward Thompson in the stabbing deaths of Katricia Daniels and her son, Robert Shepard, 10, the Ramsey County District Attorney’s office said in a release sent to Fox News Digital. 

Flowers’ original sentence didn’t allow the possibility of parole, but due to federal and state changes to the law between 2012 and 2016 during the Obama administration — and because Flowers was charged as a minor — he is now eligible to be released. 

He would have been eligible for parole in 2038 (30 years later) under the new laws, but a state law change last year that says convicts serving concurrent life sentences are eligible in 15 years makes him eligible now. 

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Ramsey County District Attorney John Choi, whose office took over prosecuting the case from Hennepin County, noted in a statement sent to Fox News Digital that the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that Flowers was “far less” involved in the murders than Thompson. 

He said his office concluded that Flowers should serve his sentences concurrently, not consecutively, as he was originally sentenced. 

“Because we were not involved with the protracted and contentious litigation that this case generated for over eleven years, we could independently evaluate Mr. Flowers’ culpability and, in hindsight, take into consideration past judicial rulings and the significant changes to Federal and State laws that occurred during this lengthy litigation,” Choi said. 

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He added, “The law is an expression of our community’s values and when the law changes to it is important guidance on how prosecutors should exercise our decision making. From our perspective, it is significant that, on appeal, the Minnesota Supreme Court determined in 2010 that Mr. Flowers’ role in this case was far less than his co-defendant. We came to the same conclusion after reviewing this case for the past 10 months and therefore resolved this case in a manner that reflected his lesser culpability, achieved an end to the litigation, and recognized the reality that the distinction between consecutive and concurrent sentences for Mr. Flowers was small due to retroactive changes in the law made by the Minnesota Legislature in 2023.”

Flowers had to agree to drop his motion for a new trial and cease his post-conviction legislation, Choi’s office said. 

Fox News Digital has reached out to Choi’s office and the Hennepin County Court where he was resentenced. 

His office said the changes to the law would allow a person serving two life sentences consecutively eligible in 60 years, and someone serving concurrently 30 years. 

 Flowers was re-sentenced to serve his life sentences concurrently in 2017.

“What happened in the 3600 block of 1st Avenue South on June 12, 2008, was horrific. But it appears Flowers played a lesser role than his codefendant; even the Minnesota Supreme Court found it to be a close case with regard to Flowers,” the Hennepin County District Court said at the time. 

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That sentence was reversed in 2018 upon appeal by the Minnesota Supreme Court. 

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