From land disputes to murder trials, 2009 was a busy year in Crow Wing County courtrooms.
In January, Father Steven Solors, a priest at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Ball Club in northern Minnesota, was found guilty of filling in a wetland to make a road to property he owns in Garrison Township. He was ordered to pay fines and fees of $200 and sentenced to 90 days jail, which was stayed
In February, a Crow Wing County jury found Steven Radke guilty of premeditated first-degree murder for the 2007 shooting death of his father-in-law, Darrell Buesgens. Radke was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Again in February, Bradley Thomas Lewis entered a plea of guilty to first-degree manslaughter for the August 2008 death of Chad Charles Campbell, 39, during an altercation in downtown Brainerd. Lewis was sentenced to one year jail and placed on 15 years supervised probation.
Donna and Jim Larson spoke of their grandson, Jack Larson, who died after being struck by a motorist suspected of passing several cars on the shoulder on May 9 near the Larsons' Merrifield home. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Also in February, Spencer Olin Krum, Eugene, Ore., was sentenced to 25 years supervised probation after pleading guilty to felony second-degree criminal sexual conduct with victims ages 13 to 15 in June 2008 at Camp Olson near Longville.
In March, Gerald David Jones pleaded guilty in Crow Wing County District Court to felony aiding suicide in connection with the 2006 death of his wife, Nancy Lou Hesner, 61. In lieu of 21 months in prison, Jones was sentenced to house arrest and a decade of supervised probation.
Also in March, Cody Lee Larson pleaded guilty to biting her 5-year-old son on the face and arms at their northeast Brainerd home. Larson was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
In April, two residents sued Brainerd Public Utilities in a property line dispute involving the utility's expansion of its wastewater treatment plant. The city settled with the property owners by purchasing affected property at a cost of $675,000.
In May, several criminal charges were filed against Champlin resident Sherman Bernard Frederick, including criminal vehicular homicide, after he struck and killed Jack Larson, 3, Buffalo, on Crow Wing County Road 3 while passing on the shoulder - several vehicles had stopped to let Larson and other children cross the road. Frederick's case continues in Crow Wing County District Court.
In June, Jonathan Douglas Kurilla of Brainerd was charged with criminal vehicular operation resulting in injury, gross misdemeanor operating an aircraft under the influence of alcohol, third-degree DWI and misdemeanor unlawful operation of an aircraft after he crashed his airplane into Gull Lake near Gull Point, injuring his passenger. His case is still pending in Cass County District Court.
In August, Michael Stratenberger of Brainerd, who in 2007 was sentenced to 40 years in prison following a 2006 attack on his ex-girlfriend and another man in Nisswa, was granted a new trial by the Minnesota Court of Appeals because of an error in jury instructions during his original trial. His new trial is scheduled for Jan. 19 in Crow Wing County District Court.
In October, two boys, ages 16 and 17, were arrested and charged after they fired a .22-caliber rifle into two homes in Little Falls Township about five miles east of Little Falls. Their cases are pending in Morrison County District Court.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at matt.erickson@brainerd dispatch.com or 855-5857.
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