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Walker man sentenced in Cass Lake homicide

By Crystal Dey / Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI -- A Walker man was sentenced to four years in prison for killing another man last year.

 Damion John Gullickson, Jr., 20, of Walker was sentenced Monday in Beltrami County Court to 48 months for his role in the death of Leslie Charles Headbird Sr., 44, of Cass Lake, on March 21, 2013.

Gullickson plead guilty to the charge on April 18. He has been convicted of second-degree manslaughter. Gullickson must serve 32 months in prison with the remaining third of his sentence eligible for supervised release. He has been credited with 438 days time served.

Chief Assistant Beltrami County Attorney Annie Claesson-Huseby said a number of victim impact statements were filed. She read one aloud in court by Headbird’s older sister Jody Bellanger.

“I would note it’s not enough time because the victim in this case lost his life,” Claesson-Huseby said.

Because of the injuries inflicted upon him, Headbird’s family was not able to look upon his body at his funeral.

Beltrami County Judge Shari Schluchter said it was a very difficult case and she received requests to charge Gullickson with murder a number of times. She noted the decision is not one that is up to her sole discretion, it is one handed down to her which was to convict Gullickson of second-degree manslaughter.

“I am concerned about public safety,” Schulchter said. “Mr. Gullickson’s record speaks very loudly to me … The victim was kicked and stomped to death.”

Gullickson’s defense attorney John Schmid asked that Gullickson’s age, lack of criminal history and remorse for his crime be taken into consideration.

Gullickson himself addressed the court prior to his conviction saying he wanted to express his sincerest apologies and requested probation be granted so he could finish his education.

As Gullickson exited the courtroom back into custody, one woman stood among the approximately 20 people in the room and said “I love you Damion, always son.”

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