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Beltrami County Court Report for October 11

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

In Beltrami County District Court before Judge Paul Benshoof:

Blossom Rosa Annette, 31, of Ponsford, Minn. pleaded guilty and was sentenced Oct. 5 for gross misdemeanor giving a peace officer a false name and misdemeanor theft.

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She was sentenced to one year in jail, of which 335 days were stayed for two years. She must serve 18 days in jail, with credit for 12 days served, and was granted STS. She must serve two years of probation, pay a fine of $897.88, have no contact with retail stores in Beltrami County and have no same or similar offenses.

On Sept. 24, a Bemidji Police officer responded to a call regarding a shoplifter. A woman had attempted to steal four football jerseys and three DVDs. The officer asked the woman for identification and she claimed she didn't have any, but identified herself using a false name. The officer checked the name in the records and found that the photo did not match the person. When informed that her picture did not match the one on file, she provided a name of another person. A subsequent investigation established that the woman was Annette. She was arrested and transported to jail.

Cecelia Marie Ogema-Benaise, 34, of Cass Lake, pleaded guilty and was sentenced Oct. 5 for misdemeanor fourth-degree DWI. The original charge was gross misdemeanor criminal vehicular homicide or operation-alcohol concentration .08 or more with in two hours of driving.

She was sentenced to 90 days in jail, stayed for two years. She must serve two years of probation, pay a fine of $508, complete the ASPEN program and aftercare, submit to random testing, not drink and drive, and not have any same or similar offenses.

At 10:38 p.m. Nov. 1, a Beltrami County sheriff's deputy responded to a one-vehicle rollover on Mission Road near Prince of Peace Lane in Ten Lake Township. Ogema-Benaise, the driver, and her two passengers were injured. All had been drinking. A blood sample taken from Ogema-Benaise registered a blood-alcohol concentration of .19.

Nathan Lawrence Messer, 31, of Cass Lake was sentenced Oct. 5 for an amended charge of misdemeanor issue dishonored check-offense. The original charge was for gross misdemeanor issue a dishonored check. He pleaded guilty Sept. 21

He must serve 90 days in jail, stayed for one year, serve one year of probation, pay a fine of $233 and not have any same or similar offenses.

Messer pledged a set of golf clubs as collateral on a personal loan given to him by a local pawn store. Messer did not redeem the golf clubs within the time set for repayment of the loan, and ownership of the golf clubs passed to the pawn shop. On April 30, Messer went to the pawn shop to negotiate a repurchase of his golf clubs. An agreement was made and Messer issued a check for $600. The check was returned to the pawn shop with the notation "frozen/blocked account." A certified letter was sent to Messer notifying him of the check, but the item was returned due to an inaccurate address.

William James Batchelder 49, of Bemidji, pleaded innocent Oct. 6 to gross misdemeanor harassment/stalking, gross misdemeanor harassment-repeatedly making telephone calls and gross misdemeanor harassment-use mail/deliver letter/telegram or package. His next court date is Dec. 15.

According to the criminal complaint, at 10:03 p.m. June 22, Bemidji Police officers responded to a report of harassment and stalking at a residence in Bemidji. The victim reported that Batchelder was parked outside her home. This was the sixth or seventh time since May 17 that law enforcement had contact with Batchelder for harassment and stalking, the complaint stated. The victim reported that she and Batchelder had a relationship that lasted 20 years and have been separated for three to four years. During this time, Batchelder continued to pursue her, at one point giving her a place to stay, the complaint stated. In May 2009, she began a relationship with another person and decided to not have any contact with Batchelder, who began harassing her to the point where she feared for her life, according to the complaint.

On June 22, the woman was visibly shaken and upset and reported that she had seen Batchelder's vehicle parked in a clump of bushes near her home, the complaint stated. She reported that he regularly parked near her home and watched her, causing her to feel threatened and afraid for her safety. In a statement, the woman said Batchelder had been calling her repeatedly and left unwanted messages, until she finally blocked his number. She documented 55 calls from Batchelder between May 11 and May 14. She also said Batchelder came to her place of employment and left unwanted notes on her car at least once a day. He also sent letters and cards to her home, drove by her home, and would show up at her home and knock on the doors and windows, the complaint stated. She said she lives in fear and is afraid to leave her home, the complaint stated.

Batchelder was apprehended while attempting to leave the scene, the complaint stated. He admitted driving past her residence, but claimed he hadn't stopped, according to the complaint. He admitted he was driving a different vehicle, but said he didn't believe she could see his vehicle as he was parked two blocks away, the complaint stated. An open 12-pack of beer was found on the floor in the truck, the complaint stated. Batchelder admitted to drinking the beer and was arrested and placed in the vehicle, according to the complaint. He registered a preliminary breath-alcohol concentration of .03, the complaint stated.

Jesse Wayne Johnson, 21, of Bemidji, pleaded innocent Oct. 6 for gross misdemeanor third degree DWI. His next court date is Dec. 15.

According to the criminal complaint, at midnight March 6, Beltrami County Sheriff's deputies were advised of an occupied vehicle sitting on the shoulder of the road on state Highway 89. Deputies conducted a safety check on the vehicle and occupants and identified the driver as Johnson, the complaint stated. Johnson said they were driving southbound on Highway 89 when the truck ran out of gas. The deputy observed the odor of alcohol and observed empty bottles and cans on the floor of the vehicle and in the bed of the truck. Johnson failed field sobriety tests and was arrested and transported to the jail. He registered a blood-alcohol concentration of .14. He has one prior conviction for DWI.

Joseph Leon Whitener, 44, of Bemidji, pleaded innocent Oct. 5 to felony fifth-degree drugs, procure/possess/control by fraud or deceit. His next court date is Dec. 15.

According to the criminal complaint, on July 23, 2008, Whitener presented a prescription for Oxycontin at a local pharmacy. The pharmacist verified the prescription, filled it and gave Whitener 90 tablets of Oxycontin, the complaint stated. Whitener paid $582.97 in cash and left the store, according to the complaint. Whitener submitted the receipt for the medication to his insurance company for reimbursement, the complaint stated. A subsequent investigation established that the doctor who wrote the prescription did treat Whitener on July 22, but he had not prescribed any medications, according to the complaint. The doctor received a copy of the prescription and informed the agents that the prescription had been forged, the complaint stated. The investigation also revealed that a female had reported to law enforcement that Whitener had stolen a blank prescription pad from the doctor's office and forged the doctor's signature to obtain the medication, according to the complaint. In a separate case, Whitener was named as the person who forged a prescription for methadone, the complaint stated.

In Beltrami County District Court before Judge Shari Schluchter:

Glenn Lee Clark IV, 27, of Bemidji, pleaded guilty Oct. 2 to gross misdemeanor domestic assault. His next court date is Oct. 23.

At 11 p.m. Aug. 20, Bemidji Police officers responded to a report of a domestic assault in a parking lot on the 800 block of 26th Street Northwest. The officers were advised that a man was attempting to remove a female from a parked car. Officers arrived on the scene and observed a man, subsequently identified as Clark, standing by the vehicle. One of the officers spoke to the female passenger, who said she and Clark had gotten in an argument. He and attempted to pull her out of the vehicle by twisting her right arm and pulling her leg. He also pulled her hair as she was walking on the sidewalk. The woman had an abrasion and complained of bruising and swelling on her right wrist. The driver of the vehicle was questioned and indicated that Clark and the other woman had been arguing, but would not provide any details. Clark was arrested and transported to jail. He registered a preliminary breath-alcohol concentration of .218.

In a statement, Clark reported that the woman came to his residence and asked if he would be returning to her house. Clark advised her that he would not be returning and asked the woman to leave. They began arguing and the woman reached into the open window and grabbed a pack of cigarettes. Clark went to the parking lot and admitted to pulling her hair to keep her in his vicinity. He denied attempting to remove her from the vehicle.

He has been convicted of disorderly conduct and domestic assault and fifth-degree domestic assault.

Denise Marie Mattison, 35, unknown address, pleaded innocent Oct. 2 to felony first-degree sale of drugs 10 grams or more of cocaine/heroine/methamphetamine within a 90-day period. Her next court date will be Nov. 17.

According to the criminal complaint, between July 1, 2006, and Sept. 1, 2006, agents of the Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force and Headwaters Safe Trails Task Force arranged controlled buys of crack cocaine between a confidential informant and Mattison. The CI purchased 11.8 grams of crack cocaine from Mattison during this time.

In Beltrami County District Court before Judge John Melbye:

Travis Andrew Buskirk, 27, of Fargo, N.D., pleaded innocent by letter Sept. 29 to gross misdemeanor third-degree DWI. His next court date will be Oct. 20.

According to the criminal complaint, at 1:35 a.m. Sept. 17, a Bemidji Police officer observed a vehicle traveling eastbound in the westbound lane on Paul Bunyan Drive. The vehicle was heading straight towards the squad, car which caused the officer to change lanes, the complaint stated. The driver corrected the path of the vehicle and moved back to the eastbound lane, the complaint stated. The officer initiated a traffic stop and identified the driver as Buskirk, who smelled of alcohol and had slurred speech and had bloodshot, watery eyes, according to the complaint. Buskirk failed field sobriety tests and was arrested and transported to jail, where he registered a blood-alcohol concentration of .15, the complaint stated. He has a prior conviction of driving with an alcohol concentration of .15 in the state of Nebraska.

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