Wetterling investigative files to be made public Thursday
ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — Stearns County authorities plan to release their investigative files on the kidnapping and killing of Jacob Wetterling to the public next week.
Sheriff Don Gudmundson plans a news conference for Thursday to present “key elements in the case” and take questions before releasing the nearly 57,000 pages of documents.
Jacob was 11 when he was abducted near his St. Joseph home in 1989. In 2016 Danny Heinrich confessed and led investigators to his remains. In a deal with prosecutors, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for child pornography.
His parents, Patty and Jim Wetterling, sued to keep some documents private, saying they held personal information about their family. But media organizations persuaded a judge that the documents were public information under state law because the investigation was over.
FEDERAL JUDGE THREATENED
North Dakota man convicted in Minnesota of threatening judge
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A North Dakota man has been convicted in Minnesota of threatening to kill a federal judge.
A jury in St. Paul found 65-year-old Robert Phillip Ivers, of West Fargo, North Dakota, guilty Friday. U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald says Ivers has “a long history of using words to frighten and intimidate.”
U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright ruled against Ivers last year when he sued a life insurance company.
He sued again, and two volunteer attorneys he consulted reported the threats. When marshals went to West Fargo to speak with him, he screamed he was glad he had scared the judge because she stole his life.
Ivers ran twice for mayor of Hopkins, Minnesota, sparking anger for racist remarks at a candidate forum last year.
A sentencing date has not been announced.
Minnesota drug task force announces huge meth seizure
(Information from: Faribault Daily News, http://www.southernminn.com)
FARIBAULT, Minn. (AP) — A southern Minnesota drug task force has announced a huge methamphetamine bust.
Authorities said Friday that task force agents assisted by a Minneapolis police SWAT team seized just under 171 pounds of meth with an estimated street value of $7.75 million on Tuesday, and arrested four suspects who’ve now been charged. Five adults and three children were found at the residence.
The Faribault Daily News reports that Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn, the chairman of the task force, calls it, “the mother lode.”
While the meth was seized at a Minneapolis residence, Dunn says the case began in January with illegal drug sales in Rice and Le Sueur counties.
The officers also seized a sawed-off shotgun, 1.1 ounces of heroin and several thousand dollars in suspected drug cash.
Guilty plea entered in 1987 St. Paul homicide
(Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com)
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A serial burglar has pleaded guilty to killing an elderly woman after breaking into her St. Paul home three decades ago.
Sixty-year-old Michael Withers entered the plea to second-degree murder without intent Friday in Ramsey County District Court and could be sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Eighty-one-year-old Lillian Kuller fought with her intruder before he strangled her in 1987. The Star Tribune says authorities had done DNA tests on evidence, but it wasn’t until Y-chromosome profile tests on some evidence, including Kuller’s fingernail clippings, were done that investigators came up with a match to Withers. Those results were received in March 2017.
Withers lived about a mile from Kuller’s house at the time of the homicide. He’s scheduled for sentencing Oct. 30.
$1.5M settlement for Muslim workers fired in prayer dispute
DENVER (AP) — A U.S. meatpacker has agreed to pay $1.5 million to 138 Somali-American Muslim workers who were fired from their jobs at a Colorado plant after they were refused prayer breaks.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Friday that Wichita, Kansas-based Cargill Meat Solutions also pledged to accommodate Somali-American workers’ prayer breaks at its Fort Morgan plant.
The EEOC says Cargill denies wrongdoing but agreed to settle to avoid further litigation.
Last year, the EEOC found that the workers were fired in 2016 after protesting a decision by plant management to stop permitting Muslim employees to take short breaks for prayer.
Hundreds of Somali-Americans work at the plant in Fort Morgan, located 75 miles (115 kilometers) northeast of Denver.
Wyoming game officials unsure of type of bear in attack
CODY, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming wildlife managers say they are unable to determine what type of bear attacked a Minnesota hiker last weekend, although they suspect it was a grizzly bear.
Authorities say 48-year-old Bradley D. Johnson of Plymouth, Minnesota, received severe injuries to his arm, shoulder and back when he encountered a bear on Sept. 9 in the Beartooth Mountains near the Wyoming-Montana border.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department says its investigation found evidence that multiple bears had been in the area where the attack occurred.
Cody Regional Wildlife Supervisor Dan Smith says the investigation indicates that the incident was an unfortunate case of a surprise encounter that occurred at close range and that the bear probably was protecting a food source.
Investigation: Edina hospital violated patient privacy
(Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com)
EDINA, Minn. (AP) — A federal investigation has found a suburban Twin Cities hospital violated the privacy rights of some patients by videotaping psychiatric evaluations in the emergency department without their knowledge.
The Medicare investigation focused on a woman who was taken to the ER at Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina against her will in May 2017.
The Star Tribune says the woman requested security camera footage from the hospital as part of her lawsuit over her admission and treatment by police. The woman says she expected only footage of the hospital entrance and was shocked to learn the hospital had videotaped her the entire time she was there.
A hospital official says cameras had been added to the psychiatric evaluation rooms because of an increase in the number of violent patients. Fairview says it has ended the practice.
RED RIVER DIVERSION
Family feud: Cousins take opposite sides on diversion plan
MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) — A public meeting meant to discuss environmental impacts of a revised Red River diversion channel around the flood-prone Fargo-Moorhead area may have been the last chance for opponents to publicly air their grievances. And in one case it put cousins on opposite sides.
The project has been on hold because it has not received a permit from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. However, DNR officials have given favorable reviews to changes made in a so-called Plan B option.
A public forum was held Thursday in Moorhead to discuss the changes. One speaker, Leroy Richard, of Horace, called the project a “bad dream” for upstream residents whose land would be flooded in times of high water.
Shortly thereafter, Richard’s cousin, Mark Vanyo of Moorhead, stood up to support the diversion.