Youth sentenced in Michael Brasel homicide

From news reports

A 17-year-old on Wednesday was sentenced to 25½ years in prison for the murder of Michael Brasel, a St. Anthony Park father, husband and youth hockey coach, according to Twin Cities media reports.

       Kle Swee, of St. Paul, previously pleaded guilty to one of the two counts of second-degree murder, according to Bring me the Swee waived certification, therefore moving his case from juvenile to adult court, the news agency added.

      Brasel, 44, was fatally shot outside of his home while interrupting an attempted burglary of his wife’s car on the 2300 block of Chilcombe Avenue in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood on May 6.

         According to a KARE  11 news report, the judge sentenced Swee to 306 months, of which he will serve a minimum of 204 months. Swee will pay $8,800 in restitution to Brasel’s wife Hilary from the wages he will receive while working in prison. As part of the plea agreement. Swee was given credit for 152 days already served. 

Prosecutors say Kle Swee shot Brasel after the man confronted him and three others while they were breaking into Brasel’s wife’s car in St. Anthony Park on May 6, the TV station reported, citing court documents. 

The KARE 11 news report continued:

“Swee will turn 18 on Oct. 18. He showed contrition when given the chance to address the courtroom.  

“I just want to apologize to the victim’s family to my family, to everyone I impacted. I take full responsibility for my actions. 

“I just want to apologize to the victim’s family to my family, to everyone I impacted. I take full responsibility for my actions.

“All I ask for is forgiveness,” Swee said. “The time I spend in prison, I want to better myself. Right now I’m currently getting my GED and trying to get my diploma and after that, I want to take college classes and get a job in prison. And when I get released I will be a changed man. When I get released, I want to help young kids not make the same mistakes that I did, that I made, in honor of Michael.”

Swee’s attorneys sought a downward departure in his sentencing, arguing that he shot Brasel in fear of an attack on his friend Ta Mla. Mla has been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder for his role in the crime. 

Victim’s wife impact statement

Michael’s wife Hilary and his two boys – along with numerous friends and family members – gave victim impact statements. 

“Michael now only lives in a shiny metal box that we visit every day,” Hilary Brasel said tearfully. “Please honor Michael and sentence the shooter to the maximum time for taking away my best friend and the father of my children.” 

Hilary Brasel said the two had been married for almost 18 years after meeting in a high school pottery class. Michael was also a youth hockey coach for his two boys and other kids in the St. Paul area. 

“He always gave the best hugs,” Hilary said. “He was the one who could see when someone was having a bad day and turn their frown upside down.” 

Meanwhile, Moo Ah, the mother of Swee, also wrote a victim statement, which was read by her son’s defense attorney.  

“I know my words cannot erase or heal the pain and loss you are experiencing,” Ah wrote. She went on to detail Swee’s childhood and how he had difficulty connecting with other kids due to language and culture differences before falling in with a bad crowd in high school. 

“My son in the past few years became addicted to illegal prescription drugs he bought off the street. Before the tragedy, he went to treatment and was able to get free from his addiction. 

He’s lost friends to overdose and addiction, so he even encouraged other friends to get help for their own drug use in the last year.” 

Ah explained that Kle fell in with his old friends in the weeks leading up to the shooting and that she is “devastated by his actions.” 

Submitted by Scott Carlson, Bugle managing editor.

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