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UPDATE: Man who plotted random Woodbury murder civilly committed

The man who plotted to kill a random Woodbury resident in 2008 was civilly committed Thursday by a Washington County judge who pointed to strong evidence that the man was planning more violence.

Judge Greg Galler found 21-year-old Woodbury resident Andrew James Busskohl mentally ill and dangerous following a three-day court trial. He will be placed at Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter.

"There is a substantial likelihood that Mr. Busskohl will engage in acts capable of inflicting serious physical harm upon others if he is not civilly committed," Galler wrote in a 31-page court order.

Washington County prosecutors successfully argued Busskohl's behavior following the 2008 case - in which he was sentenced to jail time - demonstrated that he posed a serious risk to the community.

Busskohl was convicted of stalking and third-degree property damage in the case. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and two years of supervised probation.

According to the court order, he violated conditions of his probation in numerous ways, including formulating more plans to commit a murder in Woodbury. Busskohl admitted to his therapist in May 2010 that he thought about murdering a specific Woodbury couple, who lived in a secluded residence.

"Rather than wait until Mr. Busskohl acts out his criminal obsessions, we sought to have him civilly committed as mentally ill and dangerous to protect society and also to assure that he receives the psychiatric help he apparently needs," Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said in a news release.

Other probation violations included possession of knives, an Air Soft gun and drug use. He also pursued and accepted a job at Cutco - a company specializing in knives.

"Mr. Busskohl has what this court can only describe as a very odd and unhealthy fixation on knives," Galler wrote in the order.

Busskohl was arrested in August 2008 after a friend tipped off authorities that he was about to kill a Woodbury resident. The friend said Busskohl had taken the first step to the murder by breaking a window at the house, where he planned to later access prior to repair.

When police arrested him, they discovered what prosecutors called a "murder kit" in his car containing burglary tools, latex gloves, shoe covers, a scalpel and plans to burglarize a randomly selected Woodbury man's home and slit his throat while he slept.

The friend said Busskohl's plan was to cut out the victim's heart or remove his eyelids to gain a reputation as a serial killer. Busskohl later told a therapist that he hoped to become "anonymous and famous," the court order states.

Busskohl first desired to kill as a vigilante in the vein of the character in the "Dexter" television program, the order states. He changed his approach after difficulty finding a suitable victim, Galler wrote.

Galler said in the order that Busskohl exhibited psychotic and delusional disorders. The judge rejected the notion that Busskohl now understands the harm he had contemplated.

"He was more concerned about literally getting away with murder and with experiencing a thrill than he has been about the effects of his actions on others," Galler wrote.

The court has yet to determine whether Busskohl's stay at the secure hospital will be for a year or indefinitely. Orput said he will await an evaluation by doctors from the state hospital, who are expected to issue a recommendation within 60 to 90 days.

Orput said he expects to make a recommendation based on the medical evaluation.

"As a rule we do," he said.

Orput had his own suspicions, however.

"We think he's in for the long haul," he said. "We hope he gets the treatment he needs."

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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