MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Lawyer claims national guardsman's accused killer has 20 personalities
ST. PAUL -- The lawyer for a St. Paul man accused of shooting a Minnesota National Guardsman to death says his client has multiple personalities. Investigators say 25-year-old Aaron Allen shot and killed Staff Sgt. Brandon Horst last month in a murder conspiracy with the victim's wife, 24-year-old Heather Horst. Allen's lawyer says he has more than 20 personalities, is bipolar, and suffers from post traumatic stress disorder -- and has asked the judge to order a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he is competent to stand trial. The results of that examination are expected in December. Allen and Heather Horst are both charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder. Carsten said Allen doesn't understand the charges against him.
President Obama has asked Americans to support a military strike against the Syrian government -- but has also asked Congress to delay a vote while a possible diplomatic solution proposed by Russia plays out. Jack Rendler of World Without Genocide at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul says that as long as the perpetrators feel that they have nothing to fear in terms of justice from the international community events such as the chemical attacks in Syrian will keep happening. Minneapolis peace activist and lawyer Bruce Nestor says the genocide in Syria was atrocious, but a military strike is not the answer. Minnesota G-O-P Congresswoman Michele Bachmann says the Obama Administration hasn't proven an American national security interest or a clear strategy for success, and she remains adamantly opposed to the use of military force in Syria. Minnesota D-F-L Congresswoman Betty McCollum supports the effort to solve the crisis diplomatically, but also is in favor of holding Syria accountable should those efforts fail.
A Dodge Center man involved in an armed standoff with sheriff's deputies last November will spend two-and-a-half years in prison. Roger "Rocky" Papenfus plead guilty to two of the crimes he was originally charged with in April, and the remaining charges were dropped. The county attorney says Papenfus was firing a high-powered rifle at his apartment complex in Dodge Center when police were called in, in a standoff that lasted about two hours before Papenfus surrendered. Nobody was hurt.
In a recent study of driving behavior, one in 12 drivers was spotted either texting or talking on the phone behind the wheel. The research found that just over eight percent of drivers are distracted by electronics, and that doesn't surprise personal injury attorneys who deal with the consequences of devastating accidents that can be caused by carelessness. Lawyer John Allison thinks the eight percent figure is low. The Minnesota Department of Traffic Safety says distracted or inattentive driving is a factor in one in four crashes in Minnesota, resulting in at least 70 deaths and 350 serious injuries, but officials agree with Allison that the numbers are vastly underreported because it's a challenge for police investigators to definitively determine distraction as a crash factor.
Governor Dayton has ordered that all flags fly at half-staff today (Wed) on the 12th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks. At least three Minnesotans were killed that day. Thomas Burnett Junior of Bloomington was on United Flight 93 and is credited with helping bring down the hijacked plane in Pennsylvania, preventing terrorists from crashing into the U-S Capitol. Sergeant Max Beilke from Alexandria died in the attack on the Pentagon. And Gordy Aamoth Junior of Hopkins perished in the World Trade Center attacks in New York City. Aamoth called his family to say he was okay after the first plane struck the north tower, but never called home after the second plane hit the south tower where he was working on the 104th floor.
Lawyers for Thomas Fairbanks state their case to the Minnesota Supreme Court this morning (10am) as their client appeals his conviction for murdering Mahomen County Deputy Chris Dewey. Defense attorneys question whether Fairbanks should have been prosecuted for murder, because Dewey died 18 months after he was shot. But Sheriff Doug Krier says the prosecution made a strong case and the correct process was done. Krier adds he sat through the whole trial and was aware of what was going on. Defense attorneys also contend the district court abused its discretion by moving Fairbanks' trial from Mahnomen County to neighboring Polk County.
A Mille Lacs County sheriff's deputy is facing another criminal sexual conduct case in Otter Tail County. Twenty-nine-year-old Aaron Heuer of Isle is charged with two more felony counts in connection with a June 2009 incident at the same camp where prosecutors say he molested boys this summer. The judge set bail in the new case Tuesday at 300-thousand dollars, but Heuer would need to make bail in the first case to be released from jail.
A man from La Crosse, Wisconsin is due in court today (Wed), for allegedly stabbing a housemate with a steak knife as they argued about rent money. Police say 55-year-old James Curtis stabbed the victim above one of his eyes early last Saturday and then drove off. Authorities say Curtis drove through a stop sign, lost control of his car, gave a false name and claimed he didn't stab the other man. His blood alcohol level was point-18 when he was stopped. The stabbing victim was treated for a two-inch cut.
A St. Francis man is accused of breaking into the Andover home of a long-time friend and stealing her underwear. 42-year-old Randy Bina is charged with second degree burglary, after a couple came home to find the front door open and the screen door damaged - and then noticed the undergarments were missing and bottles of alcohol had been moved. Witnesses saw a black truck at the home, and it matched the description of Bina's vehicle. Investigators say they found Bina and his truck at an Anoka bar and women's underpants on the seat and floor.