Last year, when he was arrested at the Canadian border, Yahye E. Abdisalan, 33, of Minneapolis, was a felon wanted in Minnesota on a sexual-assault charge carrying a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.
On Monday, when he made his first court appearance after being extradited from Canada, he faced the possibility of life without parole, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Monday.
The allegations against Abdisalan are the same as when charges were first filed against him in April 2010. But Freeman's office upped the ante against Abdisalan in November by also securing a grand jury indictment carrying the potential life sentence.
Abdisalan is accused of breaking into a Minneapolis home on Dec. 17, 2009, and sexually assaulting two teenage sisters. The charges say he fled after the older girl ran to her parents for help, and after the teens' mother snatched a stocking cap from his head.
According to the charges, an analysis of the stocking cap turned up a DNA match. The current case also had similarities to a 2000 incident during which Abdisalan allegedly forced open a window and fondled an 8-year-old girl sleeping in a room with her sister. He was convicted of burglary in that case, court records show.
Last year, Abdisalan disappeared after police interviewed him in connection with the 2009 assaults. In May 2010, he was taken into custody in Canada after allegedly trying to enter the country under a false name. Last Friday, he finally was booked into the Hennepin County jail.
During a brief court appearance Monday, Abdisalan offered no details when asked for his address. He spent much of the five minutes with his face half-hidden by frosted glass and a wooden window frame. At one point, he leaned forward to survey the 30 or so people in the courtroom.
Bail was set at $1 million. His next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 26.
Anthony Lonetree • 612-673-4109