Cass Lake man sentenced for attempted murder
William Earl Morris, 24, of Cass Lake, was sentenced Monday, March 2, in Cass County District Court for first-degree attempted pre-meditated murder.
Judge John Smith sentenced Morris to 16 years in prison. Additionally, according to Cass County Attorney Christopher Strandlie, Morris was found in contempt of court and ordered to serve 60 days in custody following completion of his 16-year sentence because of his behavior during the sentencing hearing.
Morris was originally charged March 8, 2010, with first-degree attempted murder, two counts of second-degree attempted intentional murder and first-degree assault causing great bodily harm in relation to the shooting of Amos Ervin Laduke in Cass Lake.
According to the criminal complaint:
At about 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 4, 2010, Cass County authorities were notified of a shooting at the junction of Cass County Road 60 and Broken Arrow Lane in Tract 34 of Cass Lake. Cass County Sheriff's deputies and Leech Lake Tribal Police found that Laduke had been shot multiple times in the back. At the Cass Lake IHS Hospital, Laduke said he had been walking with a 5-year-old when a car pulled up and stopped. He said a person he didn't recognize jumped out and began shooting at him. He said he did recognize one of the other men in the car.
Hospital staff members said Laduke had been shot at least three times, and a .40-caliber bullet from a semiautomatic hand gun was recovered. The child was not physically harmed.
A witness said he had pulled up to the intersection in a vehicle and saw the shooting take place. The witness said he saw Laduke running carrying the child with the shooter chasing Laduke and continuing shooting at him with a handgun. Laduke was shouting at the shooter not to shoot the child. At length, witnesses said, Laduke collapsed and the shooter ran off.
The witness took Laduke and the child to the Cass Lake Hospital and called 911 on the way.
Morris was arrested running along a Tract 34 road. A deputy with a K9 partner backtracked from the site of the arrest and found clothing witnesses said the shooter had been wearing and a pair of latex gloves. The tread pattern on Morris' shoes matched the tracks in the snow. Also recovered were six shell casings.
The Cass County Sheriff's Office, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and Leech Lake Tribal Police Department cooperated in the investigation.