Grace Pastoor covers crime, courts and social issues for the Bemidji Pioneer. Contact her at (218) 333-9796 or email@example.com
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A Park Rapids man will spend years behind bars for taking a woman to Bemidji to work as a prostitute. David Cruz Velazquez, 44, was sentenced to five years and two months in prison for promoting prostitution. He must serve at least two-thirds of his sentence before he is eligible for supervised release. Velazquez was charged in June with promoting prostitution. He was also charged months earlier with soliciting a child or someone believed to be a child through electronic communication to engage in sexual conduct. According to court documents:
BEMIDJI, Minn.—Four men were charged Monday for their alleged roles in an incident involving gunshots outside of a gas station Thursday, Oct. 5, just west of Bemidji. Andy Tillotson, 35, Kevin Robertson, 31, Deavion Ladell Beasley, 24, and Andre Lamar Beasley, 46, all of Bemidji, were arrested Thursday after Beltrami County deputies received a 911 call reporting gunshots at Pete's Place West. According to criminal complaints:
BEMIDJI, Minn.—A Deer River, Minn., man was charged with a felony Monday, Oct. 9, after allegedly arranging to meet and have sex with an undercover officer he thought was a 15-year-old boy. According to a criminal complaint, Scott Patrick Mickle, 53, came to the attention of law enforcement after he responded to an online "casual encounters" advertisement posted by Bemidji law enforcement and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Mickle responded to the ad on Sept. 23, the complaint said, and was told that he was talking with a 15-year-old boy.
BEMIDJI, Minn.—A Moorhead, Minn., man who arranged to travel to Bemidji in order to meet and have sex with an undercover police officer he thought was a child will not spend any more time in jail. Joseph Camron Price, 28, received a stay of imposition during his sentencing Monday, Oct. 9, meaning that if he successfully completes a three-year term of supervised probation his conviction will be deemed a misdemeanor. He must complete 27 days of electronic home monitoring, rather than spend additional time in jail.
BAGLEY, Minn. — A Clearwater County man who admitted to molesting a 7-year-old girl and to possessing child pornography will spend 80 days in the county jail there. Andrew George Damann Jr., 37, was sentenced Wednesday, Oct. 4, for one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of possession of pornographic work involving minors. A judge sentenced him to three years in prison, which was stayed for 10 years. If Damann follows all conditions, he will not have to spend any time in prison.
BEMIDJI, Minn. — Bemidji Middle School's former assistant principal, who posed as a teenage boy online in order to have sexual conversations with students and other children, pleaded guilty to four felonies in state district court Wednesday, Oct. 4. Brandon Mark Bjerknes, 35, entered guilty pleas for four counts of engaging in electronic communication relating to or describing sexual conduct with a child less than a week after he appeared in federal court, where he also pleaded guilty to similar charges.
BEMIDJI, Minn.—The Beltrami County Jail violated state rules regarding inmate checks in the 2016 death of a man in custody there, according to the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Tony Edward May, Jr., 26, of Red Lake, died Aug. 11, 2016, at the jail. An autopsy report provided by May's family lists "possible sudden cardiac death" as the cause. May had a heart defect known as myocardial bridging.
BEMIDJI, Minn. — Nearly a year after Cass Lake, Minn., teen Jeremy Jourdain disappeared, his family hopes that starting their search from scratch will help bring the 18-year-old home. Jourdain's aunt Alex Tanner and other members of the teen's family have asked for the community's help Saturday, Sept. 30, during a new search. Jourdain was last seen in Bemidji's Nymore neighborhood on Halloween night.
BEMIDJI — Staff in Minnesota's Ninth Judicial District will soon handle jury selection for the entire state, thanks to a new judicial branch initiative. The statewide project began as an attempt to address personnel levels in some of the state's smallest counties, where there often is not enough work to justify multiple full-time court administration staff. The judicial branch believed that by consolidating certain court-related jobs and basing those who performed them in smaller counties, it could increase the number of staff at those courthouses.
BEMIDJI — After 20 years as a community fixture, the Bemidji Citizen Patrol is calling it quits. Representatives of the volunteer patrol, which worked with the Bemidji Police Department, announced at Monday's City Council meeting that it will end its services at the end of the month. A news release said the group is disbanding due to a lack of new membership and "exhaustion" of current members.