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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Two teens charged with homicide of Annandale man

MINNEAPOLIS  --  Two teenagers are charged in connection with the homicide of an Annandale man. 

Nineteen-year-old Tyler Fisher of Annandale and 19-year-old Samara Juhl of Otsego were arrested in connection with the death of 42-year-old Kyle Greene, who was found dead inside his home last Saturday.  According to the criminal complaint, information was discovered that suggests that Greene sold methamphetamine and was known to carry a large amount of cash in his wallet.  Prosecutors say that Juhl and Fisher allegedly admitted to knowing about the robbery and murder of Greene, but told investigators that three other suspects robbed and shot the victim while Fisher served as the getaway driver.  The search for the other suspects continues


A suspect in a Minneapolis homicide has been arrested in North Dakota.  21-year old Cedric Chappell Jr. was wanted in connection with a shooting outside a bar early Saturday.  Minneapolis police contacted Valley City authorities, asking for help in locating Chappell, who's a student at Valley City State University.  Valley City Police Sargeant Phil Hatcher says Chappell was taken into custody on campus late yesterday afternoon.  Chappell is being held on 2nd degree murder and attempted murder charges in North Dakota, pending extradition.  The Minneapolis man is a junior and a member of V-S-U's football team. 


Testimony has ended in the trial of a Duluth head shop owner accused of selling illegal synthetic drugs and money laundering, but jurors did not hear from defendant Jim Carlson or his two codefendants -- Carlson's girlfriend Lava Haugen and son Joseph Gellerman.  The Last Place on Earth owner is charged with 55 federal crimes; Haugen and Gellerman, who worked in the store, face four charges each.  Lawyers for the defense claim that they thought the products they were selling were legal.  Attorneys will present closing arguments to jurors this morning, the judge will narrow the jury down from 14 to 12 members, and jurors will not be sequestered.  The case was moved to Minneapolis because of the store's recognition and reputation in Duluth. 


A south-central Minnesota school district was locked down for about 90 minutes yesterday afternoon while police searched the area for a wanted felon.  Students in New Richland were held in the classroom while officers combed through a nearby corn field for the suspect.  Superintendent Dr. Dennis Goodwin says it was a hard lockdown at the secondary school in New Richland, where teachers and students secure themselves in their classrooms and do not move about the building. At Ellendale's elementary school a soft lockdown meant exterior doors were secured and hall monitoring increased, but the kids could move around more freely indoors.  The lockdowns were lifted when police told officials that the suspect had likely stolen a car and left the area.


A southeast Minnesota woman is facing several charges, after a hit-and-run Monday night, and could soon be in more trouble  Rochester Police say Kristina Holtorf was leaving a McDonald's restaurant when she hit Richard Zempel, who was walking on the sidewalk. Witnesses told investigators that the victim rolled up and over Holtorf's windshield, and then she drove off.  Someone who saw the incident apparently followed Holtorf to her home and called police.  Officers believe that she was drunk when they arrived to speak with her.  Holtorf has been arrested on charges of criminal vehicular operation causing injury and driving without a license, and police expect more charges to be added when blood tests results are in.  Zempel was treated for a leg injury and neck pain.


A Minnesota mom says she was fired from her job at Charter Communications in Rochester because she posed nude for Playboy.  33-year-old Jessica Zelinske of Kasson claims that she only posed for the magazine in 2011 after receiving the okay from her boss and the assurance that she would not lose her job.  However, she was fired several weeks after the "Hot Housewives" issue was published for allegedly violating her employer’s “standards of common decency.”  Zelinske seeks at least $150,000 in compensation from her former employer.


The state Management and Budget Department has activated a special contingency team in response to the federal government shutdown.  The group will coordinate with state agencies to determining existing and potential impacts to programs and services.  Officials say they expect the list of affected services to grow, depending on how long the federal government shutdown lasts.


First-district Congressman Tim Walz (DFL-Mankato) says he'll donate his pay to food shelves in Mankato and Rochester during what he calls the "reckless Tea Party government shutdown."  Walz says hard-working families are suffering because of the "uncompromising, reckless attitude of a few rigid ideologues in Washington" and that's why he's donating his pay to charity.  Republicans respond they're willing to compromise but Democrats won't acknowledge problems that Obamacare is having.


A lot of blame is being laid on either Republicans or Democrats -- or both --  for the federal government shutdown.  But University of Minnesota constitutional law expert Professor Dale Carpenter says that blame, and wrangling over whether Congress or the administration is at fault, is misplaced.  Carpenter says the American people, by electing branches of government which are in disagreement with each other, have effectively consigned the nation to this kind of occasional impasse.  He says roadblocks in Washington, D.C. will remain unless voters either change the composition of Congress or change the president.


Republicans say key features of MNsure still aren't ready, even though the new health insurance exchange went on-line mid-afternoon Tuesday.  Preston Republican Greg Davids says he's concerned about "navigators" who will help consumers with their questions -- because he says they haven't been trained and there have been no background checks.  Davids adds, out of 62,000 insurance agents, less than 2,500 have signed up to sell insurance through the exchange.  Backers of the new health insurance exchange respond it will take a little time for that complex system to become fully operational -- but they say when it does, Minnesotans will quickly find out they can save money on their health insurance by using it.


Five Minneapolis girls between the ages of 11 and 13 are back at home, more than 24 hours after they disappeared.  A frantic search began Monday afternoon when the young girls didn't arrive at their homes from Seward Montessori School.  Police immediately began searching for Isabel Ward, Gabriella Woods, Keneni Legese, Malina Long Crow and Alexandra O’Brien, and suspected the girls may have been trying to run away to Chicago.  The girls had separated into two groups, but were found safely in St. Paul yesterday.


There is still no verdict in the murder trial of Jeffery Trevino.  The jury deliberated for about seven hours yesterday before adjourning for the night.  They plan to resume this morning.  Trevino is accused of murdering his wife Kira Steger in their St. Paul home and dumping her body in the Mississippi River, where it was found nearly three months later.  Prosecutors say Trevino killed his wife because she was having an affair with a coworker and wanted to end the marriage.  The defense claims that the evidence against him is scant and unreliable.  Trevino is charged with two counts of second-degree murder.


Hunger Free Minnesota plans to capture up to a million pounds of newly-harvested surplus sweet corn to be delivered fresh to low-income families in Minnesota and food banks around the nation.  "We believe it's the single largest rescue of agricultural surplus to date," says Ellie Lucas with Hunger Free Minnesota.  Lucas says it was a pilot project last year and has been expanded to include the Feeding America Network.


Motorists and motorcyclists need to be extra cautious for deer on Minnesota's roadways this time of year.  State Patrol Lieutenant Eric Roeske  says one-third of deer-vehicle crashes over the last three years happened in October and November.  And Roeske says of people killed in those crashes, 15 of the 16 were motorcyclists.  Roeske says seven riders have already been killed in deer-cycle crashes this year - which matches the state record from 2008.  He says autumn is especially dangerous as deer movement increases during harvest and breeding.