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Red Lake woman found guilty of murder, arson

After four years of legal delays, Carol Louise Gillmore of Red Lake was found guilty of the murder of George Stately.

On Tuesday, Federal Judge Donovan Frank found Gillmore, 38, guilty of one count of second-degree murder and one count of arson.

The trial in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis was a trial before the bench, not a jury trial.

According to the FBI report, on Feb. 14, 2002, Gillmore, also known as Carol Louise Champagne, entered Stately's home in Red Lake. At 8:19 a.m. the Red Lake Fire Department received a call that smoke was coming from Stately's house. When firefighters broke into the house, they found Stately's body in the living room. He had been struck on the head many times, and an autopsy showed that he throat had been cut. A hammer and kitchen knife were found on his body. He was 68 when he was killed.

Gillmore was found guilty of setting fire to the house after killing Stately.

According to the report, Stately had left the Seven Clans Casino located across State Highway 1 from his house in Red Lake at about 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 13, 2002. He had returned home and received a call from a friend at 9:25 p.m. The report states that Stately interrupted the call to say someone was at the door, and then said, "Hi, Carol, What are you doing here?" He then told the caller he would call back, but he never did.

The case was prosecuted in federal court because the crime occurred on the Red Lake Indian Reservation, which is under United States jurisdiction. Gillmore is a Red Lake Nation enrolled member, and Stately was also a Red Lake member.

The proceedings against Gillmore were delayed, in part, to allow evaluation to determine if she is fit to stand trial.

Gillmore faces up to life in prison for both second-degree murder and arson. The actual sentence will be determined by Frank. A sentencing date has not been set. Gillmore is being held without bond.

The case is the result of an investigation by the FBI, Red Lake Law Enforcement and Minnesota State Fire Marshall. Assistant U.S. Attorney Clifford Wardlaw and David Genrich prosecuted the case.

Members of Stately's family expressed relief on Tuesday that the conviction has brought a measure of closure to their four-year ordeal.