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Renter sentenced for threatening Woodbury landlords with gun

A prison sentence was stayed for a St. Paul renter accused of threatening his Woodbury landlords with a gun.

Benjamin James Ray, 23, was sentenced March 23 to 161 days in jail - time he has already served - for one count of terroristic threats with reckless disregard or risk. Ray pleaded guilty to the felony on Oct. 27, 2010.

The sentence, issued by Washington County District Court Judge Elizabeth Martin, includes having no contact with the victims and paying $1,710 in restitution. An 18-month prison sentence was stayed for five years, provided Ray follows terms of his probation.

According to a criminal complaint filed in October 2010, the first of two victims called Woodbury police to report threatening communications sent by Ray. The complainant said Ray had not been paying rent, was in the process of moving out the property and had left "a significant amount of damage," according to the complaint.

The landlord, who lives in Woodbury, said the threat came after he left Ray a message calling on him to cover the cost of repairs and cleaning.

"Ray became very upset and left (the complainant) a threatening message over the phone stating that he had a loaded .45 waiting for him," the complaint states.

The complainant's wife also reported receiving a threatening message from Ray. Woodbury police met with her and listened to two voice mails saved on her cell phone. Police said that on the second message, Ray could be heard discussing killing his landlords with a .45 "and commenting that the bullet would go through their skulls," according to the complaint.

The female victim later reported receiving another message from an apologetic Ray who asked her not to have him arrested before the birth of his child.

Police arrested Ray Oct. 6, 2010. The complaint states that while he was being transported to jail he "spontaneously uttered that he had made a 'drunken mistake.'"

According to online Minnesota criminal records, Ray has two prior convictions for terroristic threats since 2008.

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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