REGIONAL BRIEFS: Two found dead with capsized canoeGRAND MARAIS, Minn. -- Two people were found dead Sunday near a capsized canoe in a lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office reported Monday.
From the Forum Communications News Bureau
Sex assault suspect wanted for Texas murders
WILLMAR, Minn. — A 21-year-old Texas man accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in Willmar has confessed to two murders in Texas, a prosecutor said Monday.
Esequiel Gomez Jr. is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct for the July 29 sexual assault.
He has admitted to the sexual assault along with confessing to a double murder and sexual assault case in Texas, according to statements made Monday by Assistant County Attorney Dain Olson in Kandiyohi County District Court.
There is an outstanding warrant for Gomez on a capital murder charge in Swisher County, Texas, Olson told District Judge Michael J. Thompson before Thompson set bail at $1 million.
According to Olson, DNA evidence collected at the Willmar crime scene assisted in identifying Gomez as a suspect in the murder case in Tulia, Texas.
The girl reported she’d been sexually assaulted about 2 a.m. July 29 in the area of the walking bridge in Willmar. The girl identified Gomez in a photo lineup.
Gomez was apprehended in Randall County, Texas, about three weeks after the assault was reported and was extradited back to Minnesota to face the charges here.
Gomez is being held in the Kandiyohi County Jail. His next appearance is Oct. 15.
Two arrested in Saturday homicide
ROSEAU, Minn. -- A man and woman from Badger are scheduled to appear today in Minnesota district court in Roseau in connection with the homicide of a Badger man Saturday, said Sheriff Steve Gust Monday.
A Roseau County jail official said Jeremy Lemen, 34, and Desiree Shinholser, 24, were booked in on Saturday on provisional charges of second-degree murder.
Lemen and Shinholser lived together in the same eight-unit apartment building in Badger as the victim, John Currier, who lived alone. He was found dead Saturday morning in the building.
Sheriff Gust did not release the names of the three Monday, citing the pending formal complaint and the need to notify family members.
Badger is a town of around 370 about 12 miles southwest of Roseau, in extreme northwest Minnesota.
of the suspicious death of a man.
The owner of the apartment building where they lived said Currier worked at Polaris Industries in Roseau.Currier was about 31 and formerly lived in International Falls, Minn., where he still has family, the landlord said.
(GFH: Note today is copy refers to Tuesday)
Two found dead with capsized canoe
GRAND MARAIS, Minn. -- Two people were found dead Sunday near a capsized canoe in a lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office reported Monday.
According to the sheriff’s office, two people canoeing on Alton Lake discovered a capsized canoe and two bodies. Police were alerted at 12:40 p.m. Sunday.
Members of the county search and rescue team, the U.S. Forest Service and Sawbill Outfitters recovered the bodies of Thomas Pineault, 55, and Cynthia Pineault, 51. Both are from Forest Lake, Minn.
Police said it is likely the bodies had been in the water for 24 hours or more. Officials said winds in the area and a drop in temperature could have played a part. Foul play is not suspected, the sheriff’s office said. Both people were wearing lifejackets.
Alton Lake is near the Sawbill Lake entrance into the BWCAW.
Minnesota man killed in motorcycle crash
BRULE, Wis. -- A 44-year-old man from Kerrick, Minn., was killed in a motorcycle crash in northwest Wisconsin on Saturday, the Douglas County (Wis.) Sheriff’s Office reported Monday.
Police said Quinton Matuszak and the motorcycle he was riding went into a ditch about 5:30 p.m. on Wisconsin State Highway 27 in the Town of Brule.
The motorcycle landed on top of Matuszak, police said.
Woman gets jail time for stealing from derby team
FARGO – Roller derby skaters are accustomed to hard hits on the track. But the former FM Derby Girls bookkeeper who pleaded guilty Monday to stealing from the group found out the courtroom can be pretty rough, too.
A judge decided that a joint sentencing recommendation for Louise Jauss wasn’t severe enough. It called for Jauss to pay $10,000 in restitution and receive credit for 10 days she had already served on electronic home monitoring.
“I don’t think paying it back and spending 10 days in your own house is a sufficient penalty for this,” Judge John Irby said in Cass County District Court.
Irby sentenced Jauss to an additional 25 days in jail and denied a recommended deferred imposition of sentence, meaning the felony theft conviction will remain on her permanent record. Jauss also must serve one year of supervised probation.
Jauss pleaded guilty Monday to Class C felony theft. The exact amount Jauss stole wasn’t determined. The group initially accused her of taking about $21,000; a private auditor found about $13,000 in unauthorized transactions, mainly ATM withdrawals, court records show.
Cold snap catches college without heat
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. -- There’s been a chill in the air inside Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, with temperatures dipping to the low 60s the past few days.
The cold air should be just a temporary inconvenience, however, officials say. Alternative heating sources, such as space heaters, were being put in place throughout the campus, according to Erin Wood, director of marketing and communications.
The problem occurred because the campus is undergoing an energy improvement project that involves the installation of new boilers to heat buildings. But the project has not been completed, so the new boilers are not yet in operation.
“The cold weather hit us faster than we expected,” Wood said Monday. “It was pretty chilly here on Friday.”
Replacement heating sources were provided to residence halls Friday, Wood said, while other areas were scheduled to receive alternative heating this week.
Man sentenced for construction site thefts
FARGO – One of two Fargo men accused in a theft ring that targeted home construction sites was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty Monday to more than 20 counts of conspiracy to commit burglary.
Jason Scott Leines, 35, also must serve five years of supervised probation and pay restitution to be determined within 60 days.
Judge John Irby called the sentence “more than fair,” considering that Leines could have received consecutive five-year sentences for each of the 21 felony charges to which he pleaded guilty.
Leines entered Alford pleas to one conspiracy charge and a theft of property charge, meaning he didn’t admit guilt but acknowledged a jury likely would have convicted him based on the evidence.
Assistant Cass County State’s Attorney Cherie Clark said Leines and his alleged co-conspirator stole equipment valued at more than $10,000, mostly from home construction sites.
His alleged co-conspirator, Jeremy Tibiatowski, has pleaded not guilty to similar charges. A bench warrant for his arrest was issued Monday.