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In Beltrami County District Court

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Bemidji,Minnesota 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
In Beltrami County District Court
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

In Beltrami County District Court before Judge Paul Benshoof:

Meredith Hope Thompson, 32, of Deer River, Minn., pleaded guilty and was sentenced March 30 for gross misdemeanor third-degree DWI. She was sentenced to one year in jail, of which 11 months and 21 days are stayed for three years, and placed on probation to the court for three years.


She must serve six days in jail with credit for four days served, pay a fine of $608, not drink and drive, complete ASPEN program, attend 12 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and submit to random testing.

At 1:07 a.m. March 6, a Bemidji Police officer observed a van traveling southbound on Minnesota Avenue with un-illuminated headlights. The officer followed the van onto a snowmobile trail, where the officer initiated a traffic stop. The driver was identified as Thompson, and the officer observed the odor of alcohol and glazed eyes. She admitted to consuming alcohol. She failed field sobriety tests and registered a breath alcohol concentration of .168 in the field. She was arrested and transported to the Beltrami County Jail where she registered a blood alcohol content of .21.

Dwight Thomas Jones, 32, of Cass Lake, pleaded guilty and was sentenced March 30, for gross misdemeanor giving a peace officer a false name. He was sentenced to one year in jail, of which 11 months and 16 days are stayed for two years, and two years of supervised probation.

He must serve four days in jail with credit for 11 days served, pay a fine of $183, remain law-abiding and follow all instructions of probation.

At 9 p.m. March 20, a Minnesota State Patrol trooper was contacted by a special agent with the Headwaters Safe Trails Task Force. The agent indicated that a felony fugitive named Jones had been observed getting into a vehicle in Thief River Falls and was on route to Cass Lake. A description of the vehicle was given to the trooper. The trooper observed the suspect vehicle on U.S. Highway 2 near Wilton. The trooper initiated a traffic stop and asked the passengers for identification. The male passenger, subsequently identified as Jones, provided the trooper with a false name and birth date. He was positively identified by the special agent and was arrested and transported.

James Harold Black, 33, of Bemidji, pleaded guilty March 30, to felony drugs, cause or permit child or vulnerable adult to ingest, inhale or be exposed to methamphetamine; felony fifth-degree drug possession and felony second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. His next court appearance is scheduled for May. 11.

At 1:30 p.m. Jan. 9, Beltrami County Sheriff's deputies responded to a residence on the 11000 block of Birchmont Beach Road to investigate a reported assault and kidnapping involving a male individual. Deputies investigated and obtained statements from witnesses regarding the report. Deputies were able to ascertain that earlier in the day, the male, arrived at a residence on the 5800 block of Cardinal Road N.W. The man entered the residence where he met Black and two other individuals. Black approached him with an aluminum baseball bat and struck him several times in the forehead, without provocation. Black accused the man of stealing his motorcycle. After Black assaulted the man with the bat, he and another male restrained the man and forced him to remain outside in the porch area while they continued to confront him about his involvement with the missing motorcycle. Black and the other male prevented the man from leaving the porch or calling for help and continued to strike and kick the man. Black and two other individuals forced the man into a car against his will for transport to Black's residence. The man was forced from the car into the house to make telephone calls regarding the missing motorcycle. He was eventually able to escape from the residence.

On Jan. 10, Beltrami County Sheriff's deputies conducted a search of a residence on the 4900 block of Balsam Road Northwest, authorized by the Beltrami County District Court after sheriff's deputies presented a search warrant application seeking items associated with the assault and kidnapping of a male individual. A child answered the door and allowed the deputies into the house. The deputies found no one in the kitchen, living room or hallway. Deputies found a female in the first bedroom and a second female, was found lying in bed in the master bedroom. She had an outstanding warrant for a prior offense. Deputies discovered two micro baggies containing what appeared to be meth on the kitchen counter, within easy reach of the child. It field tested positive for meth. The deputies located Black outside the residence. He was subsequently arrested and transported with one of the female individuals to the Beltrami County Jail. The other female said she had observed the male and female consuming meth in the kitchen area prior to the arrival of the deputies. A subsequent search of the residence revealed the presence of power tools that matched the description of tools stolen from work sites and residences in the Bemidji area.

In Beltrami County District Court before Judge Shari Schluchter:

John Conrad Weber, 18, of Bemidji, pleaded guilty March 24, to two counts of felony first-degree damage to property, value reduced over $1,000, and felony second-degree burglary. His next court date will be May 5.

Throughout November, ongoing reports of acts of vandalism and theft at a number of gas stations and convenience stores were received by Bemidji Law Enforcement. A subsequent investigation established that three individuals, one of whom is identified as Weber, committed several acts of vandalism and theft by intentionally damaging coin operated car care services at multiple locations.

E Nov. 11 - significant damage to a car wash key pad station at Pete's Place West, estimated damage of $8,000.

E Nov. 11 - significant damage to a car wash key pad station at Fourth St. Tesoro, estimated damage of more than $1,000.

E Nov. 12 - damage to a cash machine on the south side of a car wash at JackStop

E Nov. 21 - damage to a building and coin machine next to the vacuums at Doug's Car Wash, estimated damage of more than $1, 000.

E Nov. 21 - significant damage to coin collection boxes and vacuum cleaners at Chalet Car Wash, estimated damage of more than $1,000.

E Nov. 23 - significant property damage to a key pad station, vacuums and a washer unit, at JackStop, estimated damage of more than $9,000 for both incidents.

A subsequent investigation also established that Weber, attempted to commit an act of burglary by breaking into a pawn shop Nov. 25. Statements obtained from Weber and another male individual established that on Nov. 25, Weber and the male individual damaged the electrical box in order to disable the alarm system. Weber attempted to access the store by using a pry bar on the back door. After several failed attempts they fled the scene.

On a separate charge, he amended his plea to guilty March 24 to second-degree burglary.

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 Weber. The female stated that they decided to rob the place because they were all broke. In a statement Weber said he and two other individuals had entered the Other Place through the basement and then made their way through the bathroom wall.

Scott Wayne Vaughn, 29, of Laporte, amended his plea to guilty March 24 to felony fifth-degree drug possession, felony possession of a pistol or assault weapon - conviction or adjudicated delinquent for crime of violence - and felony possession of a pistol or assault weapon - conviction of a violent crime within 10 years. His next court date will be May 4.

According to the criminal complaint, at 11 p.m. Oct. 24, a Beltrami County Sheriff's deputy was called to assist Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force agents with a drug surveillance operation. The agents observed a vehicle stop at a residence in Eckles Township, for a short time and then leave. The deputy located the vehicle near the intersection of Eckles Road and Kestrel Road. The rear license plate was un-illuminated. The deputy stopped the vehicle and identified the driver as Vaughn. There was also another male in the vehicle. The deputy observed what he believed to be a brown pistol grip between the front passenger seat and the middle console cushion. The driver and passenger were removed from the vehicle. A subsequent search showed that what appeared to be a pistol-grip was a fix-bladed knife. A subsequent search of the vehicle, disclosed a black carrying case, located in front of the passenger seat. Officers found a .22 caliber Smith and Wesson semiautomatic handgun with a partially loaded magazine. There was also a case of white powder in the carrying case which contained a glass smoking pipe with an off-white, powdery residue inside. There were two zipper lock baggies that contained a small amount of a crystal-like substance that field tested positive for methamphetamine. In the trunk of the vehicle, officers located a handbag that contained a sawed-off, 20-guage shotgun. The barrel was approximately 12-14 inches long. In a subsequent statement, the other male stated that the vehicle was his, but that he was unaware that either the handgun or the sawed-off shotgun were in the vehicle. He said he did see the case on the floor of the front passenger side, but he did not know what was in it. He said he was unaware how any of the items got into his vehicle. Vaughn said the pistol and the gun case were his, and he had bought them from an unnamed individual some time ago. He also said the meth found in the case with the gun was also his. He said the sawed-off shotgun in the trunk was his, and he has had it since he was a kid. Vaughn has prior convictions for fifth-degree possession of controlled substances and third-degree assault.

Pioneer staff reports