WALKER — A 61-year-old Garrison woman was indicted by a grand jury in Cass County District Court on first-degree premeditated murder, second-degree intentional murder and interference with a dead body, Cass County Attorney Christopher Strandlie reported Monday.
Strandlie reported that the grand jury returned the indictment on Thursday for Helene Teresa Mitchell-Abraham after hearing two days of testimony. Strandlie said Mitchell-Abraham was previously charged with second-degree intentional murder, however additional evidence surfaced which compelled the convening of the grand jury.
On Monday, Mitchell-Abraham was arraigned on the indictment. Bail was set at $500,000 with conditions. The Garrison woman’s next court appearance was set at 1 p.m. March 19. The jury trial is scheduled May 7.
A conviction for first-degree murder calls for a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole in Minnesota.
According to the criminal complaint filed previously, Mitchell-Abraham intentionally struck and killed her estranged husband, Wendell Wayne Abraham, 64, with her motor vehicle on or about Sept. 23, 2010, without premeditation. When Abraham walked behind the vehicle, Mitchell-Abraham told her sister that she took the opportunity to kill or harm him. She put the vehicle in reverse and stomped on the gas, hitting Abraham and watching his body fly into the air. She checked to see if Abraham was dead and then hid the body.
Second-degree intentional murder carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison while interference with a dead body carries a maximum penalty of a $3,000 fine and one year in jail.
The criminal investigation was conducted by agents and investigators of the Cass County Sheriff’s Department and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension with assistance from police departments of Storm Lake, Iowa, and Mankato.