I did a lot of digging to report on the case of Alexis Saborit, the illegal alien who beheaded America Thayer in Shakopee, Minnesota on July 28, 2021. I focused on Saborit’s status as an illegal immigrant because the Star Tribune has kept this aspect of the case a deep secret. (By contrast, Crime Watch MN/Alpha News has led with it.)
America was murdered in broad daylight in Shakopee. At the time of her murder America was working at the MyPillow showroom in Shakopee, a block or so from the Amazon fulfillment center. Everyone who knew her liked her.
I went out to Shakopee the Sunday afternoon following her murder to visit the scene of the crime. A makeshift memorial had been assembled at the southwest corner of the busy intersection where America was murdered. I snapped the photo below.
Saborit was charged with first-degree murder. Following a bench trial, Scott County District Judge Caroline Lennon found Saborit guilty. The May 11 Star Tribune story by Paul Walsh on Saborit’s conviction again overlooked this aspect of the case.
In June Judge Lennon held a second-phase trial on the question of Saborit’s mental illness defense. On July 17 Judge Lennon found Saborit “NOT GUILTY BY REASON OF MENTAL ILLNESS” (emphasis in original). Her 10-page findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order are posted online here. Saborit is to be remitted to the custody of the Minnesota Department of Human Services. This represents a bitter conclusion to the proceedings.
None of the stories reporting Judge Lennon’s order includes comment from Scott County Attorney Ron Hocevar. I emailed him for comment and spoke to him by phone when he returned my call yesterday morning. At my request Mr. Hocevar emailed me a summary of the points he made in our conversation:
Scott, as we discussed I was not overly surprised by Judge Lennon’s order finding Saborit mentally ill. She had two experts who wrote lengthy analyses as to why their findings were he was mentally ill at the time of the murder. This office has petitioned to have Saborit committed as mentally ill and dangerous and I have a high confidence level that will be accomplished. Saborit is not out wandering the streets due to the judge’s order. He is still in custody in our jail and once he is found mentally ill and dangerous, he will be committed to a secure mental facility.
I do not find Judge Lennon’s findings persuasive. She herself acknowledges that they are subject to argument. See, for example, Findings page 9 at paragraph 13. Saborit appears to have known what he did was wrong. See Findings pages 9-10 at paragraph 15.
Saborit will not be punished for the appalling murder he committed. He is subject to release when the professionals say his illness has resolved or is under control. His civil commitment is cold comfort, to say the least.
I mentioned to Mr. Hocevar that I had reported Saborit’s illegal status around the time of America’s murder in 2021. He said he was surprised that this element of the case had received so little attention.
I reported Saborit’s status as an illegal alien here (August 3, 2021) with a statement from ICE and followed up here (August 5, 2021) with a summary of the case to that date. Please note that the August 5 post embeds a copy of the criminal complaint in the arson case pending against Saborit at the time he beheaded America.
To reiterate my previous reporting, these are the immigration-related facts. ICE gave me the dates of the events. I have drawn inferences regarding the asylum issue based on the facts set forth and on responses to my questions withholding information because it is deemed “confidential.”
• Saborit entered the US in 2007 at the El Paso port of entry.
• I infer that Saborit sought asylum. His case was set for hearing.
• Saborit failed to appear for his hearing in 2009.
• An immigration judge entered a deportation order against Saborit in absentia.
• Saborit subsequently sought a rehearing. His immigration case was reopened and reheard.
• The rehearing resulted in a second deportation order in 2012.
• ICE attempted to remove Saborit to Cuba based on the 2012 final order of removal. ICE was unable to obtain the necessary travel documents from Cuba.
• As a result, and following a review of his custody, he was released on an order of supervision in 2012.
• The Supreme Court decision in Zadvydas v. Davis (2001) limits the length of time that ICE can detain noncitizens who are subject to a deportation order. The ruling generally precludes the agency from holding noncitizens with final orders of removal for more than six months if their actual removal cannot occur in the reasonably foreseeable future. This is often due to a foreign government’s refusal to accept the repatriation of its nationals.
• On January 25, 2019, the Trump administration’s Department of Homeland Security announced the implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the Remain in Mexico program. The policy allowed US border officers to return non-Mexican asylum seekers to locations in Mexico as their claims were adjudicated in US immigration courts.
• The Remain in Mexico program sought to address the perversity at the heart of the immigration aspect of the Saborit case.
• On June 1, 2021, the Biden administration’s DHS formally ended the Remain in Mexico program. The program was ended by this memo.
• Insofar as I can tell, the Star Tribune has never mentioned Saborit’s immigration status.
• When Saborit beheaded America he was on his way to a hearing in the arson case. In other posts on the Saborit case I reported in some detail on the November 2020 arson case charging three felonies against Saborit. The following bullet points link to my other 2021 posts on the Saborit case.
• “The lonesome death of America Thayer” (July 31, 2021).
• “America Thayer, RIP” (August 2, 2021).
• “From the Saborit file” (August 3, 2021).
• “From the Saborit file: His lawyer returns my call” (August 3, 2021).
• “From the Saborit file: The murder charge” (August 6, 2021).
• “From the Saborit file: Finale” (May 15, 2023, noting Saborit’s conviction of first-degree murder by Judge Lennon).
I draw two conclusions from my reporting on Saborit: (1) He should not have been in the United States, and (2) he should not have remained at large in Minnesota.
The resolution of Saborit’s immigration status dates back to the Obama administration. The Saborit case illustrates the need for the reforms implemented by the Trump administration. By the same token, the case illustrates the willful destructiveness of the Biden administration’s “humane” open borders program.