It was September a month all too familiar during my adolescent years, when kids are returning to school to shaping their lives for the real world, I happened to be incarcerated at the Hennepin County Adult Detention Center. I was being mistreated by correctional officers for no apparent reason, and being told that I would never see the light of day again. The few privileges that I was able to receive were taken away from me, all because of how the media and the State of Minnesota portrayed me as guilty, which is not so. I went from becoming familiar with my teachers, peers, and the required school work needed to graduate, to a 16 year old boy suspected of murder that was broadcast on every news channel and published in the newspaper. I would like to share with you how my nightmare began.
Sunday May 16, 2004 a murder took place in a business located in Minneapolis Minnesota, as this murder took place, one of the staff members present was able to escape and run to a neighboring house to seek help. A woman in the neighboring house called 911 and the staff was able to tell the police operator what took place and described the suspect as an African American male, thin built, early 20's, 5'10" to 5'11", 180 pounds, with short cropped hair. After she completed the phone call she ran back to the business to find that her coworker was unresponsive. Police arrived and did a forensic investigation for potential fingerprints.
On May 17, 2004 Minneapolis police received 3 different fingerprints back from an item that the suspect had touched however, two were from the the detectives that investigated the scene and the other was unidentified. Later that day investigators made a photo lineup to show the survived witness, under a new procedure being administered by the department, a Sergeant not connected with the case conducted the photo lineup, not knowing if the lineup included a potential suspect. The staff
present at the crime was shown a group of six photos from the lineup where she recognized a potential suspect and identified the suspect she recognized as the shooter. Minneapolis investigators, investigated the suspect identified as the shooter whereabouts on the date of the shooting however, investigators learned he had allegedly been in South Dakota on the date of the crime.
On May 18, 2004 Minneapolis investigators received information that made them direct their investigation towards me. On May 19, 2004 I was arrested at home. While in custody at the Minneapolis Juvenile Detention Center I was interrogated without the presence of a guardian and fingerprinted. I was never informed I was being investigated for murder even though the fingerprints recovered from the crime scene excluded me as a suspect in this crime.
On May 20, 2004 Minneapolis investigators elected not to follow the procedure which was in place by the police department and investigators connected to the case administrated a photo lineup which was conducted at the staff home who witnessed the crime. I was included in the photo lineup, but instead of recent photo, a photo from 2002 was used in the lineup. It was the last photo of me having short cropped hair. Later the witness was shown an in-person lineup which was suggestive, because I was the only person addressed by name while others included in the physical lineup were addressed by number. The witness had a difficult time identifying me as a suspect because I did not fit her initial description of the suspect as I was; 16 years old, 5'6", 145 pounds, with a natural afro about 4 inches in length.
On September 2, 2005 I was found guilty of first degree murder and first degree assault and sentence to life in prison in a case where there were no fingerprints, DNA, weapon, nor any physical evidence indicating that I had any involvement in this crime. I have worked with the Minnesota Innocence Project an organization that assist the wrongful convicted in my countless attempts to prove my innocence. As I was being wrongfully convicted and sentenced the judge stated, " I hope Haynes finds something positive to do in prison so he can lead a constructive life once he completes his sentence." Words I will never forget because my only constructive activities are fighting for justice. Become a part of the movement #JusticeforMarvinHaynes
Below please view my line-up and interrogation videos. WARNING: These videos contain highly emotional content. The viewer's discretion is advised.
The witness described the perpetrator as having short cropped hair, Marvin however had long natural hair that no one could ever described as being short cropped. Marvin appearance three days after the shooting is reflected in this mugshot.
Instead of using the mugshot of Marvin taken three days after the shooting, the police opted to use a mugshot from two years earlier when Marvin was fourteen years old, which portrayed Marvin as having short cropped hair.
Witness McDermid provided three descriptions of the culprit to police:
In a 911 call, she described a thin Black male in his early 20's, 5’10” or 5’11”, 180 pounds, wearing a gray hoodie.
• To police at the scene, she described a Black male with a dark complexion, 22 years old, short, cropped hair (Supp. 6).
• To police the next day, she described a Black male, 19 to 20 years old, with close- cropped natural hair (but not bald) and medium skin tone. No facial hair (Supp. 17). Marvin Haynes was only 16 years old at the time of this tragic event and clearly did not fit the description of the perpetrator.