Grace Pastoor covers crime, courts and social issues for the Bemidji Pioneer. Contact her at (218) 333-9796 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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BEMIDJI, Minn.—A Bemidji woman was charged with assault last week after she allegedly dumped a glass of lighter fluid over another woman's head, then attacked her with a crowbar. According to a criminal complaint, Crystal Seelye was at her Bemidji apartment July 18 attempting to break a hole in her wall when the victim arrived to check on her. Seelye, who had been pounding on the wall, handed the victim a crowbar and asked her to make a hole, as Seelye had dropped something behind the wall.
LEONARD, Minn. —Four activists accused of tampering with Enbridge-owned pipeline facility near Leonard in northwest Minnesota will be allowed to argue at trial that they felt they had no choice but to commit the crime. Last week, the Minnesota Supreme Court declined a request from the Clearwater County Attorney's office to review an April ruling by the Minnesota Court of Appeals that paved the way for the protesters to present a "necessity defense." A necessity defense is used to shield people who must break the law in order to prevent greater harm.
BEMIDJI, Minn.—The attorney for a Red Lake woman imprisoned for a 2011 drug crime argued Thursday, July 19, that his client should receive credit for time she spent in the reservation's jail prior to sentencing. John Donovan, an assistant state public defender, told a panel of three Minnesota Court of Appeals judges that the 25 days Misty Kay Roy, 29, spent in the Red Lake Detention Center should have been subtracted from a sentence handed down in state district court in November 2017.
BEMIDJI, Minn.—Though Thursday brought clear skies and warm, breezy weather, signs of the small tornado that touched down in the middle of Bemidji Wednesday, July 4, remained in the whine of chainsaws, rumble of bulldozers and tree stumps still clinging by their roots to the boulevard. City workers, private tree removal companies and residents could be seen in the hardest-hit areas Thursday morning, continuing cleanup efforts that began shortly after the EF-1 twister swept through a 12-square-block area at about 6:18 a.m. on Independence Day.
ST. PAUL—A Red Lake man who shot and killed a 17-year-old boy in a dispute about a Playstation was sentenced to 19 years and eight months in federal prison Tuesday, May 15. Joshua Francis Hill pleaded guilty in January to one count of second-degree murder in the teen's June 24, 2017, shooting death.
ECKLES TOWNSHIP, Minn.—Two men were charged with assault Monday after allegedly shooting a man at the Elpine Village Mobile Home Park on Friday, May 4. Luiz Javier Solis Delarosa, 23, of Walker, and David James Cook, Jr., 21, of Red Lake, are both charged with second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon causing substantial bodily harm, according to court documents. Delarosa also is charged with the intentional discharge of a firearm that endangers another.
BEMIDJI—The Beltrami County Jail violated state rules regarding inmate checks in the 2017 death of a woman in custody, according to the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Stephanie Bunker, 39, of Naytahwaush, was found hanging in her cell at the jail on July 1 and later died at a hospital on July 11.
RED LAKE, Minn.—The Red Lake Tribal Council voted Tuesday, March 13, to remove Enbridge-owned oil pipelines from its land. The unanimous vote came two months after the council agreed to rescind a resolution accepting a land swap agreement with the Canadian energy company. That Jan. 9 vote paved the way for Tuesday's action, according to Red Lake Representative Robert Smith.
BEMIDJI, Minn.—Before Tantoo Cardinal left her childhood home near Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, to attend high school, she spent her time taking in the nature around her. "I could walk in the bush behind my grandmother and know that there's a whole world out there that's connected to sound and the wind and energy," Cardinal said Tuesday, March 13. "That's where I learned how to act, is from walking behind my grandmother."
ST. PAUL — Nearly a year after the Bemidji community discovered that Brandon Bjerknes had engaged in sexual conversations with his students, his victims and their families continue to suffer. One girl is currently in a state mental hospital due to multiple suicide attempts. At least two more have had to make trips to the emergency room after cutting themselves. Some have been bullied by other students. Some can't trust boys or men.