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Little sentenced to prison in 2009 taxi incident

A man convicted of stabbing a taxi cab driver during an incident in 2009 in Baldwin was sentenced to prison Friday morning.

Cordaro Dwayne Little, 25, Fridley, Minn., was sentenced to five years in prison and four years extended supervision by Judge Edward Vlack on one felony count of second-degree reckless injury.

“This is a serious felony and probation would unduly diminish the seriousness of the crime,” said Vlack.

“You need supervision,” he told Little.

Little’s victim, Abdi Mohammed Askar, was in the courtroom, the knife wounds and subsequent crash has left him blind and confined to a wheelchair.

Some 60 friends and family from the Somali community packed the courtroom to overflowing for the proceedings.

Daughter Rodo addressed the court saying her life had changed since the incident on Nov. 23, 2009. “My mother has eight kids to care for without a head of the household,” she said.

“I forgive you,” she told Little, “but I want justice for my father.

Daughter Maryma followed. “Who would do such things to a person as kind as my dad?” she asked.

“A big part of me misses my father and the old times,” she said.

Little was convicted of the felony charge on Feb. 12 in a plea agreement.

Little’s attorney, Stephen F. Muza, argued for a three-year probation period in order than his client could get the drug, alcohol and psychiatric help he needed to turn his life around. “He is not dangerous and could benefit from supervision,” Muza said. “(It) would give him the best shot to be a good citizen.”

Probation was apparently part of the plea agreement with special prosecutor Frank Collins.

The original case was dismissed in December 2009 at a bail/bond hearing. It was re-filed with additional information in April 2012.

Little was charged after a blue-and-White cab he was riding in crashed into a dumpster and a parked car at Greenfield Elementary School in Baldwin at about 6:40 p.m. Nov. 23, 2009. Askar, 38, at the time, suffered slash wounds on his neck and internal injuries. He was transported to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, the criminal complaint said.

Little was convicted of felony possession of marijuana with intent to deliver on March 23, 2011, in connection with the Baldwin incident and sentenced to a one-year probation term. Probation was revoked and he served a year in jail.

Little appeared in court from jail where he has serve 471 days that will be credited with his prison sentence.

He exercised his right to allocution, turned to face the Askar family and apologized. “I didn’t mean for something like this to happen. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said.

The proceedings were delayed after Judge Vlack took a 20-minute break go over his notes before handing down a sentence. He scheduled his return for 10:30 a.m. but the session did not resume until 10:47 a.m.because the interpreter had left the courthouse and did not return. Both sides agreed to continue without him.