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Redby couple pleads guilty to second-degree murder

Kelly James Maxwell, 28, of Redby, pleaded guilty Tuesday, March 23, in U.S. District Court to one count of aiding and abetting second-degree murder. Natalie Renee Delores Ann Smith, 23, of Redby, pleaded guilty to the same charge March 18.

Maxwell and Smith entered their pleas before Judge Donovan Frank in St. Paul.

B. Todd Jones, U.S. Attorney for Minnesota, announced Tuesday that in their plea agreements, Maxwell and Smith admitted they aided each other in the murder of Curtis Leslie Charles Heinonen Oct. 1 on the Red Lake Reservation. They were indicted Nov. 10.

An FBI affidavit states that Heinonen's naked body was found under some logs in the yard of a Redby residence. Officers discovered shoes, pants and boxer shorts two blocks away in Smith's yard.

Maxwell and Smith face a potential maximum penalty of life in prison. All sentences are determined by a federal district court judge.

This case is the result of an investigation by the Red Lake Tribal Police and the FBI. The federal government has primary law enforcement jurisdiction over the Red Lake Band of Chippewa.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Clifford B. Wardlaw.

Heinonen's traditional American Indian funeral was held Oct. 8 at the Red Lake Community Center. He was born and raised in Red Lake and is survived by two daughters, parents, sisters and brothers.