Students wear buttons with Deshaun Hill’s photo on them reading “Rest in Power” in 2022 during the first North High School football game since 15-year-old Hill was killed that February. Credit: Nicole Neri for MPR News

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This story comes to you from MPR News through a partnership with Sahan Journal.

A Hennepin County judge has sentenced the man convicted in the killing of Minneapolis high school student Deshaun Hill to a little more than 38 years in prison.

Cody Fohrenkam’s sentence is at the top of state guidelines.

A jury convicted Fohrenkam, 30, last month of shooting the 15-year-old in the back of the head after a brief exchange on a Minneapolis sidewalk a year ago.

At sentencing Tuesday, Judge Julie Allyn noted Fohrenkam’s extensive felony record and what she called the senseless nature of the crime.

“All he did was walk by you,” Allyn said. “And as he’s walking away in broad daylight on a public street, you turned and you shot at him not once, but three times.”

Deshaun Hill Sr. said the loss of his son has devastated the family. Hill said his son had a promising future, was a honor roll student and had been offered multiple scholarships.

After the hearing, Deshaun’s mother Tuesday Shepherd and family attorney William Walker said they’re pleased Allyn gave Fohrenkam the maximum sentence allowed, but they’re urging state lawmakers to pass a bill that would allow for life sentences for adults who kill children.

“It should have been 800 months. It should have been life,” Walker said. “Because when he gets out of jail, he’ll still be old enough to be with his kids,” Shepherd added.

Under Minnesota law, Fohrenkam will be eligible for supervised release after serving about 25 years of his sentence in prison.

A Hennepin County jury took only an hour to convict Fohrenkam of second-degree intentional murder.

Prosecutors said Fohrenkam grew increasingly angry after an unknown person punched him and stole his phone early on February 9, 2020.

After Deshaun left North High around noon, Fohrenkam confronted him on a sidewalk and fired three shots.

One struck Deshaun in the back of his head while he was walking away wearing an orthopedic boot because of a broken foot.

Matt Sepic

Matt Sepic is a general assignment reporter for MPR News.