Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill on Thursday granted a prosecution motion to take the X-rays. The defense agreed with the idea.
Defense lawyer Frederick Goetz told Cahill that Ali was born in Kenya on Aug. 25, 1995, making him 15 at the time of the killings, not 16 as prosecutors have said. Goetz has argued that Ali's previously stated birthday was a guess.
The difference will determine whether he is tried as an adult or as a juvenile and could determine whether he spends the rest of his life in prison. As part of the debate over his age, a hearing is scheduled Aug. 3 that may include witnesses testifying for Ali on video from South Africa.
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Both Ali and his friend Ahmed Ali, now 18, were indicted in February on six murder counts. On Tuesday, Ahmed Ali pleaded guilty in deal that could allow his release near his 30th birthday.
Cahill told Goetz and prosecutors Bob Streitz and Chuck Weber to present briefs on the age issue on May 13 and responses by May 27. Cahill wants to know what burden of proof should be used in determining how old Ali is.
Streitz told the judge that prosecutors are likely to oppose taking testimony from South Africa.
Goetz has argued that Mahdi Ali's real name is Khalid Arrasi.
Another reason Mahdi Ali's age is important is that the U.S. Supreme Court is pondering whether it's constitutional to sentence a 15-year-old to a life term without the possibility of release. Cahill, however, noted that the high court is expected to decide that matter before July 1 -- long before Ali's trial.
Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747