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Judge rules on motions in Red Lake murder case

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was originally published on Nov. 22, 2017.

DULUTH—A federal judge dismissed one count of second-degree murder in the case of a Red Lake man charged with the June slaying of a teenager.

Joshua Francis Hill, 20, remains charged with murder in the first degree and discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence. Hill allegedly shot Alexander Andrew Cadwell, 17, at an abandoned residence in Red Lake following a dispute over a PlayStation.

During a hearing in September, during which Hill pleaded not guilty to all charges, his attorney asked that the court dismiss one of the murder counts, saying that Hill cannot be charged with two crimes for the same alleged offense. Magistrate Judge Leo Brisbois, who presided over the September hearing, recommended that a charge be dismissed. His recommendation was adopted by Judge Paul Magnuson on Tuesday.

"Although first-degree murder requires proof of an additional element—as charged herein, lying in wait or premeditation—that second-degree murder does not require, the elements of second-degree murder are wholly encompassed within the elements of first-degree murder," Brisbois wrote in his recommendation. "As such, they are 'same offense' for purposes of a multiplicity analysis."

Cadwell's body was found by the Red Lake Police Department on June 25 in an abandoned trailer east of a home on the 25300 block of West End Road in Red Lake, according to a criminal complaint. Officers found the victim's body on the ground under a wooden porch and saw blood on his clothing. The boy was unresponsive and cold to the touch, the complaint says. Police said Cadwell had left his home on the afternoon of June 24 and that a gunshot was heard a short time later. An investigation allegedly revealed that Hill was upset with the victim for "snitching" on him and threatened to "smoke him" after an incident involving a stolen gaming console.

Hill's attorney also filed a motion seeking to suppress evidence seized from a search of a 2002 Chrysler Town & Country minivan, in which Hill allegedly stored the murder weapon before and after the shooting.

Hill's adopted mother, Gladys Saragosa, testified at the hearing that she was the registered owner of the vehicle and gave authorities permission to search it on July 13. However, she said the vehicle was purchased and primarily used by Hill until it broke down in February 2017, and that he continued to store belongings in it as it was parked on Saragosa's property.

FBI special agent Travis Putrah testified that the agency seized the vehicle on June 29 and stored it in a Bemidji Police Department garage until it was searched on July 20, a week after written consent was obtained from Saragosa. On cross-examination, Putrah testified that the FBI never made any efforts to obtain a search warrant in the interim.

Though Brisbois concluded in his report and recommendation that the FBI's seizure of the van violated the fourth amendment, the subsequent search was legal because of Saragosa's consent.

Magnuson agreed with Brisbois' analysis and denied the motion to suppress evidence obtained during the search.

Information on Hill's next court date was not immediately available.

Grace Pastoor

Grace Pastoor covers crime, courts and social issues for the Bemidji Pioneer. Contact her at (218) 333-9796 or

(218) 333-9796