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Minneapolis murder suspect arrested in Texas, returns to Minnesota for first court appearance

MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) – A Minneapolis murder suspect on the run for months is now back in a local jail after authorities arrested her in Texas.

Erica Roberts made her first court appearance in Hennepin County District Court Monday afternoon, accused in the deadly shooting of Tanasha Austin, a mother of two children under the age of 12, in March.

Austin’s mom told FOX 9’s Paul Blume after the brief hearing, she believes the suspected shooter is right where she belongs in the Hennepin County Jail.

“I am very happy she’s in jail where she should be. She killed my daughter,” said Dedrah Lessley.

Lessley said she is keeping count; it was nearly nine months to the day of the deadly shooting that Roberts finally faced a Minnesota judge on two counts of second-degree murder.

Added Lessley, “And I don’t know how many hours, but it has been a long wait. And I am grateful to god that she finally got caught.”

According to authorities and court filings, the deadly shooting occurred in the Lowry Hill neighborhood on Colfax Avenue South on the morning of March 18. There was some type of dispute that unfolded in a car with several people inside including Austin’s sister.

The 30-year-old mother was fatally shot in the chest and then dropped at HCMC downtown with her sister, but the others took off. Roberts is described as a distant family member.  She would not be seen for months.

Minneapolis police credited a CrimeStoppers tip for finally tracking her down in Texas where the Longview Police Department arrested the 36-year-old in October.

It would take authorities another couple of months to return her to Hennepin County.

“She was very much loved, and she is dearly, dearly going to be missed. Her kids didn’t deserve this. We didn’t deserve this. And Tanasha definitely did not deserve this,” concluded her Lessley, who spoke about how challenging Christmas will be without her daughter, who was full of energy and described as the life of the room.

Roberts is currently on a probation hold for a violation in another case so she is not currently eligible for bail, and will remain in custody as her case plays out.



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