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LaRose charges dismissed after speedy trial demand

WALKER -- Charges against a Cass Lake woman accused of obstructing a homicide investigation were dismissed due to timing issues raised by her speedy trial demand, according to court documents.

Sara Renae LaRose, 41, is no longer charged with two counts of obstructing an investigation -- aiding another who committed second-degree unintentional murder in the death of Brandi Shank (also known as Brandi Strong).

According to a transcript of LaRose’s Monday hearing, Cass County prosecutor Ben Lindstrom decided to dismiss the charges because his office would not be ready to take LaRose to trial by July 31 -- the deadline set after she made a speedy trial demand on July 18.

Lindstrom told Judge David Harrington that he could not move forward with LaRose’s trial until the case against her co-defendant -- Brandon Joseph Roy, 24, of Cass Lake -- was resolved. Roy is charged with second-degree unintentional murder in connection with Shank’s November shooting death.

Shank, 25, was shot in the head through a bathroom door in LaRose’s Cass Lake apartment, according to a criminal complaint, A witness who spoke to police after the shooting said he believed he was the target, not Shank.

LaRose was not charged with murder, but court documents say she was present for the shooting, gave Roy a ride to Bemidji afterward and would not tell law enforcement where to find the gun used to kill Shank.

“Brandon Roy is clearly the bigger fish of the two, and having a trial on Ms. LaRose’s case before I have that Brandon Roy trial, or whatever resolution comes out of that, I need to have Mr. Roy’s case figured out,” Lindstrom said Monday, according to the transcript. “At this point, I’m not going to be ready to proceed on the 31st...I would be looking to not pursue that matter any further at this point in time.”

A judge is currently considering a motion made by Roy’s attorney to dismiss the charges. His next court date had not been set as of Wednesday. LaRose is no longer in custody.

Grace Pastoor

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

(218) 333-9796
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