The trial of the man accused of the murder of Erika Dalquist, who disappeared in October 2002, has been scheduled to begin Jan. 4.
William Gene Myears, 27, faces two counts of second-degree murder in connection with the death of 21-year-old Dalquist. Pre-trial proceedings are set for Oct. 13 in front of Crow Wing County District Court Judge Richard Zimmerman.
Myears was the suspect in Dalquist's murder since she went missing from downtown Brainerd on Oct. 29, 2002. Her remains were found May 15, 2004, in a shallow grave on property east of Brainerd owned by Myears' grandparents. The grave was covered by brush and leaves. The grave site revealed fragments of burned wood mingled with the soil and the skeletal remains, the Crow Wing County coroner's office reported, and Dalquist's driver's license was found near the body in a pocket of her clothing.
On June 5, 2004, Myears was arrested while working at a carnival in Birmingham, Mich. Myears became ill shortly after his arrest. He is being held for Crow Wing County at the Oak Park Heights prison hospital.
According to a January report by Dr. Janis Amatuzio, Crow Wing County coroner and of Midwest Forensic Pathology in Coon Rapids, Dalquist's death was caused by homicidal violence. An autopsy revealed Dalquist suffered blunt force injuries to the head.
Amatuzio estimated that Dalquist was hit in the face with a blunt object a minimum of three times. She reported it was impossible to determine what instrument caused the injuries.
Amatuzio's examination of the clothing revealed that there was evidence of burning.
Susan Gross, forensic science supervisor of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, reported in November that there were several holes in her clothing that were consistent with being cut with a sharp object.
On June 21, Myears was present in court for his omnibus hearing in Washington County District Court in Stillwater. It was his first appearance for a court proceeding in more than a year. Myears did not attend several earlier court hearings because he is suffering from an undisclosed illness and is reported to be paralyzed from the waist down.
In a recent court matter, on Sept. 6, Zimmerman denied a request for a hearing as requested by attorney Gregory Larson, Little Falls, who is representing Myears, to dismiss the two second-degree murder counts against Myears for lack of probable cause.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5851.
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