Minnesota roundup: Jury convicts Blaine driver who hit man standing by mailbox
ANOKA — A jury on Thursday convicted a 28-year-old man who sped through a Blaine neighborhood last spring and fatally struck a man standing by a roadside mailbox.
An Anoka County jury convicted Adam Joseph Rodman of Blaine on three felony counts of criminal vehicular homicide and a misdemeanor count of failing to stop for a collision.
Prosecutors said Rodman was speeding on May 5 when he hit another vehicle, left the roadway, then hit the 39-year-old victim, Dani Morazan.
Rodman was arrested after a witness told police that a car matching the description of the hit-and-run vehicle was parked nearby. The car was gone when police arrived, but officers followed a trail of leaking oil and other debris and located it parked in the garage of a residence on the same block.
Authorities said Rodman appeared extremely intoxicated and had injuries on his face and neck consistent with being struck by broken glass.
Sentencing is set for June 2. The prosecutor has asked the court for a longer-than-usual sentence based on aggravating factors.
"While this conviction won't bring the victim back, our hope is that it brings a sense of justice to the victim's family," Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo said in a statement.
Man sentenced to 20 years in drive-by shooting in northern Minn.
HERMANTOWN — The situation had the potential to be deadly when gunfire erupted from a vehicle into a group of people standing outside a residence on a narrow, dead-end road in Hermantown last September, Assistant St. Louis County Attorney Nate Stumme told a judge Thursday.
A 20-year-old Superior man, Trenton William Sampson, was struck in the lower leg by a bullet. But he and three other people, including two juveniles, were able to escape without more serious injury.
"That only Mr. Sampson was shot in the ankle is simply dumb luck," Stumme said. "Multiple people could've been killed."
Stumme made the comments at a sentencing hearing for 47-year-old Robert John Lund, the Duluth man who drove the car to and from the scene and was accused of being one of two people to fire shots into the group.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Sally Tarnowski denied Lund's request for leniency in the case, sending him to prison for a guideline term of 20 years.
A St. Louis County jury last month found Lund guilty of four counts of aiding and abetting second-degree attempted murder, four counts of aiding and abetting a drive-by shooting and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
While Lund maintained that he never fired a gun, co-defendant Denzel Sheldon Perrin, 21, told police that it was Lund who brought the weapon and that both of them fired from the vehicle into the group.
Authorities said the Sept. 24 shooting on Oak Ridge Drive came after an earlier confrontation along Skyline Parkway in Duluth, and an ongoing social media feud — neither of which involved Lund.
Moorhead woman gets 12 years for sex acts with 7-year-old
MOORHEAD — A Moorhead woman was sentenced in Clay County District Court on Thursday, March 23, to 12 years in prison for sexual contact with a 7-year-old child.
Arpolia V. Brown-Navarrete, 42, earlier pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Following her prison sentence, she'll be on conditional release for 10 years.
Still, prosecutor Pam Harris expressed worry that the sentence was insufficient in convincing Brown-Navarrete that what she did was wrong.
"She (Brown-Navarrete) continues to blame a 7-year-old child for this. I don't think the 144 months is enough for her," Harris told the court.
Defense attorney Mara Rausch noted it was Brown-Navarrete's first conviction "for an offense of this type."
According to court documents, Moorhead police were contacted by a woman last June who said that her 7-year-old child had reported being touched sexually by a neighbor, identified in the court documents as Brown-Navarrete.Investigators interviewed the child, who told them Brown-Navarrete frequently spent time with the child and did "gross things."
When investigators questioned Brown-Navarrete, she admitted performing sexual acts on the child.
Brown-Navarrete spoke briefly during her sentencing, stating she was sorry and didn't mean "for any of this to happen."
Minnesota man, 29, gets probation for fondling 67-year-old woman in her apartment
LITTLE CANADA — A 29-year-old man who followed a 67-year-old woman into her Little Canada apartment and fondled her has received a stayed prison sentence for the crime.
Ramsey County District Judge Sara Grewing sentenced Nicholas Andrew Smith, 29, to just over two years in prison on one count of first-degree burglary Wednesday, according to court records.
The sentence will be stayed for seven years so long as Smith abides by the terms of his probation. He also was ordered to serve 150 days in the Ramsey County Correctional Facility.
Ramsey County sheriff's deputies responded a report of a disturbance Jan. 2 in Little Canada, a Twin Cities suburb north of St. Paul. A woman reported that a man, later identified as Smith, had walked into her apartment behind her.
She told him several times to leave, but he would not and "insisted on using the bathroom and then wanted a glass of water," according to the criminal complaint filed in the case. The woman tried to call 911, but Smith took the phone from her.
When the woman tried to leave, Smith fondled her breast, hugged her and would not let her leave.
"She was eventually able to get away from him and get out of her apartment. When he followed her out into the hallway, she doubled back and got into her apartment and successfully locked the door," the complaint said.
Deputies found Smith in the hallway outside an apartment. Two witnesses said he had been wandering the hallways, and deputies learned he has a cousin who lives in another apartment in the complex.
After his arrest, Smith "stated that he had been drinking the evening before and he claimed a lack of memory," the complaint said.