New Charges Say Cigarette Butts Tie Sule to Sex Attack on Man, 84
A judge threw out earlier charges in April.
Prosecutors are again charging Ahmed Hassan Sule with sexually assaulting an 84-year-old Fridley man last September after a judge threw out earlier charges in April.
Sule, also of Fridley, was only free for a few hours April 20 after the court ruled that police could not have had his consent to collect DNA due to a language barrier. He was re-arrested and jailed that night on a separate burglary charge.
But in the meantime, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday, detectives gathered new DNA evidence by tailing Sule and collecting cigarette butts he discarded—even stopping all traffic on Highway 10 in order to retrieve butts that they say implicate Sule.
Sule now faces four counts of criminal sexual conduct and one burglary charge, with one new charge—attempted first-degree criminal sexual conduct—added since last fall, according to Assistant County Attorney Wade Kish.
Kish said he will seek aggravated sentence because the victim was blind and vulnerable due to age and medical condition. He also said community impact would play a part in sentencing.
Sule's public defender, Jill Brisbois, in an interview before the new charges were filed, said she was anticipating that authorities had gathered DNA evidence in a new way.
Brisbois said her client's limited ability with English kept him from being able to give police consent to collect his DNA—making it an unconstitutional search. She also found fault with the lineup police used leading to the burglary charge that sent Sule back to jail the same day he was released in April.
She did not have a comment on the sex-assault charges.
The statement of probable cause portion of the complaint filed today details how detectives say they gathered DNA from Sule without having to ask him for it:
On April 20, 2011, detectives from the Anoka County Sheriff's Ofice CID (Criminal Investigation Division) and the Anoka Hennepin Drug Task Force conducted a surveillance detail involving the defendant. A team of 6-8 detectives in five different vehicles monitored the defendant as he was released from the Anoka County Jail in the City of Anoka. Detectives remained in constant isual contact with the defendant as he rode in the passenger side of a vehicle to a SuperAmerica station on Main Street, in the City of Coon Rapids. The defendant was observed to exit the vehicle while smoking a cigarete, and as he approached the entrance of the store, appeared to discard the butt. Detectives then seized the but for DNA comparison purposes. ...
The defendant left the store several moments later and got back into the passenger side of the vehicle. The vehicle then proceeded East on US Highway 10, with the surveillance teams monitoring. Near the area of Highway 10 and Highway 47, the defendant discarded another cigarette. Detectives then stopped all vehicular traffic on Highway 10 and collected three butts in the area the cigarette was discarded.
The statement says that with an April 28 search warrant, detectives obtained a "known evidentiay DNA sample from the defendant" the next day. The result, according to the complaint, is that investigators can rule out 99.9999995 percent of the general population—but they can't rule out Sule.