BEMIDJI -- After listening to arguments about whether a legitimate concern for public safety exists, a Beltrami County judge denied a request Monday to lower the bail amount for one of the three defendants named in a high-profile double homicide from earlier this year.
Daniel Linde, 54, of Cass Lake, is facing two counts of aiding an offender after the fact. His bail was originally set at $500,000 without conditions and $300,000 with conditions. On Monday, however, his defense attorney, Layne Chiodo, asked Judge Shari Schluchter to lower the bail to $300,000 without conditions and $100,000 with conditions.
The charges against Linde allege he had a role in the aftermath of the deaths of 39-year-old Adam Thorpe of Maple Grove, Minn., and 41-year-old Jason McDonough of the Superior, Wis., area. According to the criminal complaint, 45-year-old Darren Stebe killed the two men and may have cut at least one of them into pieces. Linde then allegedly helped Stebe dig a pit at a residence northwest of Bemidji and carry the bodies of the two men into the pit where they were subsequently burned.
In making the request for a lower bail, Chiodo referenced a couple factors. She said Linde cooperated with the authorities by providing a statement of what happened. Chiodo then said any concerns for public safety were “quite minimal.” She also said that, although Linde is not originally from the area, he “has lived here for some time” and has a significant other, indicating he isn’t a flight risk.
Prosecutor Ashley Nelson began to assert that there is, in fact, a concern for public safety, but the judge began to challenge that notion based on the history of the case. Schluchter said there was a period of multiple months between the time when the crime allegedly happened and when the county attorney’s office actually filed the charges against Linde.
In that intermittent time, Linde was essentially free to do as he pleased, even though the authorities knew about his connection to the case, the judge said. Because of that, Schluchter said the county attorney’s office was putting the court in a “difficult position” by claiming there is a concern for public safety even though it seemingly didn’t do something about it for an extended time period.
County Attorney David Hanson clarified the state’s position. He said during that intermittent time, they were working on the matter and didn’t want to jeopardize their case against Stebe -- the main suspect in the matter -- by prematurely charging Linde. Hanson further said that the authorities had Linde under surveillance during those intervening months and would have arrested him if they thought there was an immediate need to do so.
Hanson and Nelson also reiterated the fact that Linde has multiple felony convictions out of Arizona.
Chiodo countered in Linde’s defense. She said the fact that law enforcement did not need to arrest him during that intermittent time shows that his bail could be lowered without any issues. Schluchter, however, ultimately denied the request for the bail reduction.