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Sparkman and female roommate planned armed robberies for rent money

Willie Sparkman is under arrest in connection to the murder of a taxi driver in Moorhead.
Willie Sparkman is under arrest in connection to the murder of a taxi driver in Moorhead.(Fargo, ND Police Dept.)
Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 4:39 PM CDT
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MOORHEAD, Minn. (Valley News Live) - The man accused of murdering a Moorhead taxi driver is now charged in Clay County court. He admitted to several armed robberies between May 4-5, 2021 and says he and his roommate did it to get rent money.

18-year-old Willie Sparkman, Jr. is charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, attempted aggravated robbery and second-degree murder in the death of 24-year-old Abdullahi Mohamed Abdullahi.

Court documents say Sparkman and a juvenile female were attempting to rob the taxi driver for rent money after two other attempted armed robberies in Fargo earlier that evening. Sparkman told police he didn’t mean to kill Abdullahi. Court documents also say that Sparkman told detectives, “if I did this, she was involved too,” in reference to the juvenile female he was with that night.

In the criminal complaint filed against Sparkman, Moorhead Police Officers say they received a call about the crashed taxi cab at 3:27 a.m. They were assisting a local agency on a call about a knife and gun, so the officers didn’t arrive on scene until 3:59 a.m. That’s when the two officers discovered Abdullahi slumped over in the driver’s seat of the Doyle’s cab he was driving.

The officers got Abdullahi out of the vehicle and began emergency medical care. That’s when one of the officers noticed a gunshot wound near Abdullahi’s left armpit. FM Ambulance arrived and declared Abdullahi dead at the crash scene.

A detective arrived on scene a short time later and located a .45 caliber bullet casing near the garages of an apartment complex at 3015 20th Street South in Moorhead.

Court documents say surveillance video of the parking lot shows a thin male approach the cab in the parking lot. The cab drove away and the male ran away from the vehicle. A separate video shows a red Toyota Corolla leaving the area. A smaller red vehicle was also involved in a similar attempted robbery earlier in the evening in Fargo.

The criminal complaint says Sparkman admitted to shooting Abdullahi during a failed armed robbery attempt. He also admitted to being involved in the earlier robberies in Fargo and that police could find the gun at the residence he shares with the juvenile female.

In the search of a cell phone used by the two suspects, police found a photo of Sparkman holding a .45 caliber handgun and also included a Google search for Doyle cab on the night of the murder.

The juvenile female told detectives that she was the one driving the red Toyota Corolla. She also says she gave Sparkman a knife to use in the robberies and she didn’t know he had a gun.

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