April 25, 2019 08:47 PM
(ABC 6 News) -- Thursday, Alexander Weiss appeared in Olmsted County court for a pretrial hearing. Weiss faces charges of 2nd Degree Murder, stemming from the shooting death of a teenager in January 2018.
It’s been more than 15 months since Weiss reportedly shot and killed 17-year-old Muhammad Rahim on a Sunday morning in northeast Rochester.
"One of the distinctions in this particular case is the nature of the people involved. This arises out a traffic incident and an argument ensued and then the shooting occurred," said Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem.
According to the criminal complaint, Weiss told police he saw Rahim’s car crash into the curb and when Weiss pulled over, Rahim backed into him.
Weiss claimed that a male passenger in Rahim’s car got out and began yelling and swearing at him.
Weiss said he told the passenger he was going to call the police and that the passenger began walking toward him, threatening to beat him up.
According to Weiss, he feared for his safety and went back to his car to grab his phone as well as the gun he had in his car.
Weiss said he put the gun in his front pants pocket and allegedly told the passenger he had a gun and that he should not “do anything stupid.”
Weiss said he pulled out the gun, holding it at his side with the muzzle pointing down.
During that time, Weiss said Rahim moved his car to the other side of the street and got out.
He said Rahim also became confrontational, threatening to beat him up.
Weiss claims he walked backward toward his car, but Rahim continued to walk toward him, shoved him in the chest and spit at him.
Weiss said he fired at Rahim after Rahim allegedly reached for Weiss’s gun.
Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem said Weiss has raised self-defense.
"That's an issue that the court and the jurors will hear about. They will hear about the law around self-defense and will be asked to contemplate if they believe it is appropriate,” he said.
A witness described seeing two men facing each other 2-3 feet apart in the roadway.
The witness told police the victim was not touching Weiss, was not raising a fist at him or walking toward him when she saw Weiss pull out the gun and fire.
The passenger in Rahim’s vehicle said Weiss got out of his vehicle as if he wished to fight and that both he and Rahim got out of the car to yell at Weiss about fighting them.
The passenger said neither he nor Rahim made any physical contact with Weiss but did admit they were both speaking and standing in an aggressive manner.
The passenger told the police neither he nor Rahim had any weapons.
Weiss is charged with 2nd Degree Murder-Without Intent-While Committing a Felony.
He was granted a conditional release on a $75,000 bond.
As part of his release, he had to turn over all guns, remain in Minnesota and stay in contact with his lawyer.
Jury selection is expected to begin Monday with the trial expected to last one to two weeks.
"It's a significant case so it’s going to take more than a normal amount of time for a jury trial. A typical jury trial only lasts about 2 days," said Ostrem.
The judge will ask potential jurors about hot button issues like race, immigration, and the second amendment. Weiss is expected to testify.
Updated: April 25, 2019 08:47 PM
Created: April 25, 2019 08:39 PM
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