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Jury finds Garrison woman guilty of Second Degree Murder in death of estranged husband

A Garrison, Minn., woman has been found guilty of two counts in the murder of her estranged husband and the removal of his body.

A Cass County jury found Helene Teresa Mitchell-Abraham, 62, guilty of second-degree murder and interference with a dead body, Cass County Attorney Christopher Strandlie said in a news release. The jury returned the verdict at 8:30 p.m. Friday.

According to the criminal complaint against her, Mitchell-Abraham intentionally backed her vehicle into Wendell Wayne Abraham, 64, on or about Sept. 23, 2010. Mitchell-Abraham told her sister that when Abraham, her estranged husband, walked behind the vehicle she put it in reverse and accelerated, and then watched his body fly into the air. She used a rope to drag his body into nearby woods and then fled.

The incident took place at Abraham's home near Remer, about 90 miles west of Duluth. His body was found Oct. 9, 2010, and Mitchell-Abraham was arrested several days later in the Mankato, Minn., area. A Cass County grand jury indicted her in February on charges of first- and second-degree murder and interference with a dead body. She wasn't convicted on the first-degree murder charge, which requires premeditation.

Strandlie said the jury heard 2½ days of testimony and deliberated about four hours before returning a verdict.

The maximum penalty for second-degree murder is 40 years in prison. The maximum penalty for interference with a dead body is $3,000 and one year in jail. Sentencing is scheduled for July 9.

The investigation was conducted by the Cass County Sheriff's Office, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Mankato Police Department and the Storm Lake, Iowa, Police Department.