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Beltrami County court report for March 15

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Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

In Beltrami County District Court before Judge John Melbye:

Jesse Lennon Gooch, 27, of Bemidji, pleaded guilty Feb. 10 and was sentenced March 9 for felony check forgery. He was sentenced to one year in jail.

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He must serve 283 days in jail and was given credit for 82 days served and pay a fine of $125.

On Nov. 14, a female reported that Gooch had stolen a checkbook from her locked bedroom and had forged several checks to himself on the account. The complaint states that Gooch also had taken one check blank from a male's checkbook. The total amount of the six forged checks was $480. The forged checks were passed between Oct. 29 and Nov. 8. At the time, there was an outstanding warrant for Gooch's arrest in relation to his felony probation. Gooch was previously convicted of motor vehicle theft and felony check forgery. His prison sentence on that matter was executed. He was arrested Dec. 19 and refused to give a statement about the forgery.

Kathy Jean Littlewolf, 35, of Cass Lake, pleaded innocent March 10 to felony possession of burglary or theft tools. Her next court date will be April 7.

According to the criminal complaint, on Nov. 25, Littlewolf and three males entered Wal-mart in Bemidji and began "staging" merchandise. Littlewolf took 15 DVDs and placed them in a cart. She then met with one of the male individuals and proceeded to the shoe department where Littlewolf concealed the DVDS in a black bag she was carrying. She took the bag into a public bathroom at the rear of the store. A Wal--Mart employee heard Littlewolf opening DVD packaging in the bathroom. She received a call on her cell phone, while leaving the bathroom. She then returned to the electronics section and took additional DVDS and concealed them in her black bag. She moved throughout the store concealing opened DVD packages at various locations. At the front of the store, Littlewolf went into the bathroom. When she emerged, she was stopped by Bemidji Police officers. Littlewolf admitted concealing opened DVDS in the men's department and in the bathroom at the rear of the store. Those DVD's were located and recovered. The DVDs were found in a tampon container in the women's bathroom and in the men's department. The plastic seals on the security packaging had been cut to permit removal of the video disc contained within. Littlewolf was searched incident to her arrest. In her sweatshirt, officers discovered a small screwdriver and a wire cutting pliers. Littlewolf produced a small razor/knife and a box of razor blades from her brassiere. Her cell phone was seized and found to contain text messages from her male accomplices. Among the messages was one warning Littlewolf that she was under observation by asset protection staff. Several more text messages were found stating "Where are you going to stash them at? I will see if I can get them" and "Stash them, are they good to come outside?" Littlewolf had taken a total of 18 DVDS. She took up to six separate DVDs of the same motion picture. Damages to the DVDs were estimated to be $159.68.

Dallas Jeremiah Torgerson, 24, of Duluth, Minn., pleaded guilty March 9 to felony check forgery. His next court date will be April 6.

On Aug. 21, a female reported to the Bemidji Police Department that a number of her checks had been forged. Six forged checks had been passed totaling $797.08. The checks had been passed at four local merchants on June 17 and 18. On Sept. 2, the police detective assigned to the case, learned that Torgerson was currently being housed in the St. Louis County Jail on unrelated charges. He interviewed him and Torgerson admitted to passing the checks forged on the females account in June.

Joshua James Kingbird, 25, of Bemidji, pleaded guilty Feb. 2 and was sentenced March 9 for gross misdemeanor domestic assault. He was sentenced to one year in jail, of which 339 days are stayed for two years, and two years of supervised probation.

He must serve 23 days in jail and was given credit for seven days served, pay a fine of $830, complete an alcohol assessment and follow recommendations, not use alcohol or controlled substances, not enter bars or liquor stores, submit to random testing, complete domestic abuse counseling/treatment, complete family counseling, have no contact with victim, except by phone and visitation while at the jail and comply with domestic no-contact order.

At 10:57 a.m. May 4, a Bemidji police officer responded to a domestic call. The officer arrived at a residence on the 900 block of 26th Street and met with a female individual. The female indicated that Kingbird had assaulted another female. The officer spoke with the female victim and observed a large cut on her nose and a large bump and purple bruising around her right eye. The female informed the officer that she had been sleeping, at her home the night before, and that Kingbird entered her house and kicked her in the head while she was asleep. She reported that she was very dizzy and had been fighting with Kingbird for hours before she was able to leave the house and request help. She reported that she was dragged down the stairs and had hit her head several times, in addition to being kicked about the head by Kingbird. She requested to be seen by a doctor and an ambulance was called. Photographs were taken for evidence. She also had several large bruises on her right arm along with cuts and scratches. While the photographs were being taken, Kingbird called the residence. The officer was given the number and they were able to locate the whereabouts of the phone. Officers responded to the location of the phone, but were unable to find Kingbird. A short time later, a Beltrami County Sheriff's deputy observed a vehicle matching the description of the vehicle Kingbird left the scene in. The driver and passenger were questioned. The passenger informed the deputy that they had dropped Kingbird off at the casino in Cass Lake. He has a prior conviction for domestic assault and interference with a 911 call.

Douglas Gordon Mattison, 22, of Bemidji, pleaded guilty March 9 to felony fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and gross misdemeanor second-degree DWI. His next court date will be April 20.

At 12:45 a.m. Nov. 12, a Bemidji Police officer observed a vehicle traveling west through a parking lot approaching a sidewalk and curb on Park Avenue. The vehicle's left turn signal was on, and it appeared that the driver was going to drive over the sidewalk and off the curb directly onto Park Avenue. The officer turned his squad car around and attempted to initiate a traffic stop. The driver accelerated quickly driving off the curb and heading onto Park Avenue. The officer had to accelerate to approximately 50 mph to catch up to the driver. He activated his emergency lights, but the vehicle continued on. The officer pulled directly behind the vehicle and activated his siren. The vehicle came to a stop at the intersection of Park Avenue and Woodland Avenue. As the officer was preparing to exit the vehicle, the driver hit the accelerator and continued west on Woodland Avenue. The driver attempted to elude the police by turning sharply onto Hillside Drive. He lost control and struck a tree at the intersection. The officer stopped his vehicle behind the suspect. As he was attempting to exit, the reverse lights on the vehicle activated and once again the driver accelerated. The vehicle sped north on Hillside Drive reaching speeds in excess of 60 mph on the gravel road. The driver had difficulty maintaining control of his vehicle and almost left the roadway. As the driver approached Park Avenue he was unable to navigate the turn and drove through a grassy boulevard. He continued northbound on Park Avenue at 80 mph. As the vehicle approached the intersection with Fifth Street, the driver braked hard, lost control and careened through the intersection, jumped the curb, entered the ditch and drove into the parking lot at the Veteran's Clinic. The driver and passenger were immediately arrested. The driver was identified as Mattison. The officer detected the odor alcohol. He registered a breath alcohol concentration of .22 at the Beltrami County Jail. His privileges were valid.

Russell Siebert Jr., 36, of Dubuque, Iowa, pleaded guilty Feb. 10 to felony failure to appear/convicted of a felony and was sentenced March 9. The charge of felony possession of a weapon was dismissed. He was sentenced to 22 months in prison.

He must serve 22 months in prison and was given credit for 131 days served, and pay a fine of $122.

Beltrami County deputies on Jan. 22 responded to Busy Corner Pawn and received a report that Siebert had pawned a Remington rifle Jan. 11 for $75. Seibert previously was convicted of second- and third-degree felony burglary and a fifth-degree felony controlled substance crime and is ineligible to possess a firearm. Siebert was arraigned April 16 and as a condition of his release, was ordered to appear at all court hearings. The conditions further stated that if he failed to appear he would be charged with a separate felony for not appearing. He failed to appear on Nov. 20.

Ricky Allen Green, 37, of Detroit Lakes, Minn., pleaded guilty and was sentenced Feb. 10 for felony issuing a dishonored check valued at more than $500. He was sentenced to 15 days in jail and five years of supervised probation.

He must serve five days in jail and was given credit for 10 days served, pay a fine of $3,080.70, not possess or use a checking account or checks, submit to random testing, supply a DNA sample, not ship, transport, possess or receive firearms or ammunition, follow all instructions of probation and pay restitution.

On May 3, 2007, a food service company delivered food items to Green at his business. Green issued a signed check in the amount of $700.70, drawn from his checking account. The food service subsequently cashed the check, but received a non-sufficient funds notice. The company was unable to contact Green for payment. The account the check was drawn from was reported to have negative funds for about 10 days.

Tressa Lee Bissonette, 35, of Cass Lake, pleaded guilty and was sentenced March 9 for gross misdemeanor third-degree DWI. She was sentenced to one year in jail, of which 346 days are stayed for two years, and placed on probation to the court for two years.

She must serve eight days in jail and was given credit for 15 days served, pay a fine of $708, complete an alcohol assessment and follow all recommendations, not use alcohol or controlled substances, not enter bars or liquor stores, submit to random testing, remain law abiding, not drink and drive and not drive without a valid driver's license or insurance.

At 2 a.m. Dec. 19, a Beltrami County Sheriff's deputy observed a vehicle in the ditch near the intersection of Mission Road and Roosevelt Road. The deputy found the vehicle unoccupied. He followed a set of footprints that led to a nearby residence. At the residence he spoke to Bissonette and a male individual, who indicated that the vehicle had been driven into the ditch by a relative and that the relative was picked up at the home by an unknown individual. The deputy made arrangements to have the vehicle towed out of the ditch. While doing so, he noted that there were no vehicle tracks coming to the house, which indicated that no one had been to the house. The deputy went back to the house and spoke with Bissonette who eventually stated that she, in fact, had been driving the vehicle. The deputy detected the odor alcohol, bloodshot watery eyes and slurred speech. She failed field sobriety tests and registered a preliminary breath alcohol concentration of .21 in the field. She was arrested and transported to the Beltrami County Jail, where she registered a breath alcohol concentration of .25. Bissonette stated that she had been driving the vehicle when it went into the ditch. She stated that she had not consumed any alcohol after driving and that she felt she was under the influence of the alcohol consumed. She currently does not have a driver's license in Minnesota.

Robert Dean Fairbanks, 50, of Laporte, pleaded innocent March 9 to felony theft. His next court date will be May 5.

According to the criminal complaint, on Dec. 21, the manager of a store in the Paul Bunyan Mall called the Bemidji Police Department regarding a theft. He stated that he had just observed two individuals take a large yellow pin-ball type gum ball machine from the hallway, in the mall, and load it into the back of an SUV. He observed the vehicle traveling west towards another store. Officers located a vehicle matching the description in the parking lot of a store. The vehicle was occupied by a male and female party. The gum ball machine was also found in the vehicle. The individuals stated that they knew nothing about the gum ball machine. A female and male approached the vehicle and identified themselves. The male identified himself as Fairbanks. Fairbanks said he and the other male had taken the gum-ball machine from the mall. The other individual said he was with Fairbanks when they took the machine. They said it was a prank and they intended to drop it off at another location. The manager identified the individuals. The value of the machine was $3,500.

In Beltrami County District Court before Judge Shari Schluchter:

Justin Ray Lewis, 19, of Dilworth, Minn., amended his plea to guilty on March 10, for felony third-degree burglary. His next court date will be April 13.

On Nov. 21, Beltrami County Sheriff's deputies responded to a call at Dale's Bar and Grill. The front door of the business was found to be open by the owners. Deputies arrived and located footprints around the business and approximately 30 bottles of liquor and 10 cartons of cigarettes were found to be missing. An employee reported that they had left the business at 10:30 p.m. and armed the alarm system. The deputies discovered that the power had been cut to the premises. Lewis was arrested for unrelated charges and confessed to burglarizing the bar in the early hours of Nov. 21. Two other suspects admitted that they were present during the break-in and that they had stolen items. Lewis and a female party hid the stolen property at a residence. A search warrant was obtained and the stolen items were confiscated. Lewis confessed to a few burglaries that had taken place in Bemidji.

In a separate case, on March 10, Lewis amended his plea to guilty for felony second degree burglary. His next court date will be April 13.

At 3:30 a.m. Nov. 26, law enforcement was dispatched for a burglary alarm at The Other Place in Turtle River. The alarm appeared to have been tripped by the front door and there were several other trips of motion sensors in the bar. The female lookout identified three males as the suspects in the burglary, one of them being Lewis. The female stated that they decided to rob the place because they were all broke.

Dennis Duene Tolbert Jr., 42, of Tenstrike, pleaded guilty and was sentenced March 9 for gross misdemeanor driving after cancellation, inimical to public safety. He was sentenced to one year in jail, of which 352 days are stayed for two years, and placed on probation to the court for two years.

He must serve 20 days in jail, with sentence to serve granted, pay a fine of $583, remain law abiding, not drive without a valid drivers license and insurance.

At 5:30 p.m. March 8, a Beltrami County Sheriff's Deputy, identified Tolbert, driving a motor vehicle on Corral Road, near the intersection with Battle River Road. The deputy initiated a traffic stop and spoke to Tolbert. Tolbert admitted that he did not have a driver's license. The deputy has had prior contacts with Tolbert and was aware that his license was currently cancelled as inimical to public safety.

Rion Hart Morgenstern, 36, of Anoka, Minn., pleaded guilty and was sentenced March 10 for gross misdemeanor driving after cancellation, inimical to public safety. He was sentenced to one year in jail, of which 365 days are stayed for two years, and placed on probation to the court for two years.

He must pay a fine of $333, not use alcohol, not enter bars or liquor stores, submit to random testing and remain law-abiding.

On Feb. 15, a Beltrami County Sheriff's Deputy saw a vehicle parked along side of the highway. The deputy observed a male party sleeping in the driver's seat of the car. The deputy woke the driver up and asked if he was OK. The driver, identified as Morgenstern, said he had gotten tired and pulled over to sleep. The deputy detected the odor alcohol. Morgenstern admitted he had been drinking, but had quit at about 11 p.m. the previous night. When asked for a driver's license, he stated that he didn't have a driver's license because his privileges were cancelled. He identified himself as Morgenstern and a check revealed his license was cancelled, inimical to public safety. A preliminary breath test indicated that he was not at or over the legal limit of .08. Morgenstern was arrested and transported to the Beltrami County Jail.

Robin Kelley Mahto, 20, of Bemidji, pleaded guilty and was sentenced March 10 for gross misdemeanor neglect or endangerment of a child and was given a stay of adjudication for one year.

He must pay a fine of $700, have no same or similar offenses and comply with protective service orders.

At 4:10 p.m. July 7, Bemidji Police officers responded to a complaint of an infant locked in a car. Concerned citizens noted that the infant appeared to be sweating profusely and her cheeks were flushed. Upon arrival, the officers found an infant secured in a car seat in a vehicle. The windows of the vehicle were rolled up and the car was locked. The child was breathing, but was clearly sweating and had wet hair and flushed cheeks. A parent or guardian was nowhere in sight. Witnesses stated that the child had been in the vehicle, unattended, for a long time and the temperature outside registered more than 80 degrees. Several witnesses attempted to locate a parent or custodian and were unable to do so. A Bemidji fireman used a tool to gain entry to the car and unlocked the back driver's door. The officer took the child out of the car seat. At this time, a male approached the officer and stated that the child was his. The officer notified the man that the child would not be released until it was checked by emergency medical technicians. The child was wet to the touch, wet through her clothing to her back and her hair was wet. The male was identified as Mahto. Mahto informed the officer that he had stopped at the ice cream place to meet a friend. He stated he forgot that his daughter was sleeping in the car seat, and he returned to the parking lot.

Joseph Edward Cardinal, 46, of Shevlin, pleaded guilty and was sentenced March 10 for gross misdemeanor possession of burglary or theft tools. He was sentenced to one year in jail, of which 339 days are stayed for two years, and placed on probation to the courts for two years.

He must serve 30 days in jail, pay a fine of $1,083, pay restitution and not have any contact with L&M Fleet.

At 1:17 p.m. Nov. 11, a Bemidji Police officer responded to a report of a suspected thief at L&M Fleet in Bemidji. The store personnel detained Cardinal after a security alarm had sounded when Cardinal had exited the store, according to the complaint. Cardinal asked to use the bathroom immediately after being detained. He was searched and electronic security tags were found in his pocket. The officer observed that Cardinal had in his possession a razor knife. The store personnel searched the bathroom stall and discovered a battery pack that had been sliced open and concealed behind the toilet tank. Cardinal denied stealing the battery pack. The officer observed a suspicious bulge in Cardinal's pants and demanded that Cardinal empty his pockets. The officer located a metal "mini pry bar" and found two empty and folded L&M Fleet garbage bags. Cardinal was searched further and began to forcibly resist, when the officer reached a specific area on his person. After a brief struggle, Cardinal apologized and admitted that he had a stolen article concealed in his pants. Cardinal allegedly reached into his pants and produced a blaze orange hunting hat that was designed to be heated by the battery pack that had been found in the bathroom. Cardinal admitted to using the razor blade and pry bar to open the packaging and removed the security tags from the stolen hat and battery pack.

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