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A Cottage Grove man has been convicted of first-degree premeditated murder. Stephen Carl Allwine drugged and shot his wife, Amy Allwine, before attempting to stage her 2016 death as a suicide, prosecutors said. Her death followed the failure of an elaborate, months-long plot Stephen Allwine hatched to have his wife killed. Jurors agreed, issuing a guilty verdict Jan. 31 after nearly eight hours of deliberation, the Pioneer Press reports. Sentencing is scheduled Feb. 2.
A convicted sex offender St. Paul police identified as a person of interest in a nearly 25-year-old missing person case will spend four years in prison on felony kidnapping charges. A Washington County court handed down the 54-month sentence to Mark Steven Wallace, a 55-year-old Andover man found guilty of kidnapping to commit great bodily harm, a felony. Charges for misdemeanor drug possession and felony stalking were dropped.
Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf opened the doors to their new facility in Oakdale earlier this month. Construction on the 6,000 square-foot building began in September on land donated by Guardian Angels Church. The new building features expanded floor space, more refrigerators, more storage space and an indoor unloading area. Christian Cupboard previously operated out of a space in the Woodbury Lutheran Church basement.
The next round of state elections will task Minnesotans with casting votes for nine congressional seats, all 134 State House seats and a successor to Gov. Mark Dayton. Polls won't open until August and November, but voters across the state will have the opportunity to help launch the election process next week at precinct caucuses. Citizens will have opportunities Tuesday, Feb. 6, to discuss party platforms, select delegates and vote for the gubernatorial candidate they'd like their party to support. Registration starts at 6:30 p.m. with caucusing to follow at 7 p.m.
A St. Paul man was sentenced to just over six years in prison on charges stemming from the overdose death of a Cottage Grove woman. Mario Juan Harris, 33, was convicted Jan. 19 of felony first-degree narcotic sale. A third-degree murder charge related to the case, to which Harris pleaded not guilty earlier this year, was dismissed. A warrant for Harris' arrest was filed Nov. 8, 2016 in Washington County. According to the criminal complaint:
The City of Woodbury is asking the state Legislature to allow inspection fees for public data under Minnesota’s open records law, citing financial burdens from records requests. The proposal was included in a legislative wishlist, approved by City Council approved Jan. 24. The Minnesota Data Practices Act (DPA) guarantees access to public information from government agencies.
A Woodbury man was sentenced to 90 days of Washington County's Sentence to Service program on charges stemming from the sexual assault of a juvenile. Gregory Jonathan Ames, 23, was convicted of felony first-degree criminal sexual conduct in a Washington County court Jan. 18. His sentence also comes with 25 years of supervised probation. The charge, filed in March, stemmed from reports that Ames had been assaulting a 13-year-old girl. According to the complaint filed in Washington County:
STILLWATER — Washington County prosecutors allege a Cottage Grove man spent months plotting his wife's murder rather than divorce her and jeopardize his esteemed role with a local church, but his defense attorney said the state's evidence has been fraught with "distractions" and "red herrings." Opening arguments in the trial of Stephen Allwine began Jan. 23. A 15-member jury will determine whether Allwine is guilty of of first-degree premeditated murder.
Washington County Sheriff Dan Starry said a deputy with his office was lucky to walk away from a recent vehicle crash in Hugo without severe injuries. Squad car dashcam footage from the Jan. 15 incident shows Deputy Greg Reiter tumbling onto the road when an oncoming vehicle strikes a stopped vehicle. As the Twin Cities area braces for an estimated seven to 11 inches of snow, Starry is asking drivers to slow down to prevent near misses like these, or worse. Reiter had been assisting a passenger of the vehicle, which was involved in another accident.
Community members will have a chance to give their input on a $11.2 million roadway rehabilitation project at a public improvement hearing Wednesday, Feb. 14. About 19 miles of Woodbury roadways will undergo improvements next year as part of an ongoing rehabilitation effort that started in 1998. City officials hope to resurface all city roads by 2022. The 2018 stretch will concentrate in City Centre Drive and the Wedgewood area, resulting in about $2.8 million in assessments. Construction is expected to last from May to November of this year.