Grace Pastoor covers crime, courts and social issues for the Bemidji Pioneer. Contact her at (218) 333-9796 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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BEMIDJI—A Red Lake man accused in a mid-January robbery was sentenced in early February for his role in the crime. Vincent George Cobenais, 30, initially pleaded not guilty Jan. 29 to one count of simple robbery—a felony—and demanded a speedy trial. But during a Feb. 9 hearing, Cobeanis instead pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor fifth-degree assault.
PONEMAH -- Red Lake police are asking for help finding a woman missing since Jan. 28. Amy Dow, 27, was last seen leaving her house in Ponemah more than three weeks ago, her mother said. Dow usually talks to her mother Chele Kalstabakken via text message and Facebook Messenger, but has not had contact with her family since she was last seen. Dow’s phone is also turned off and she has made no posts on social media, her mother said.
BEMIDJI -- After months of planning and testing, all Bemidji police officers now wear body cameras while on duty. Police Chief Mike Mastin said that, as of Feb. 5, every officer is equipped with a camera. The transition has been relatively smooth, Mastin said, though the department has had to get used to new technology.
BEMIDJI—Beltrami County Chief Deputy Ernie Beitel said Wednesday he will run for sheriff in the 2018 election. Sheriff Phil Hodapp announced Monday he will not be seeking a fourth term. Beite has worked as chief deputy for more than five years. Beitel began his law enforcement career as a Glenwood, Minn., police officer in 1984. From 1987-1989 he worked as a Pine River, Minn,. officer and from 1989-1995 served as a Cass County sheriff's deputy.
BEMIDJI—Jodi Howard. Kateri Mishow. Alyssa McLemore. Darla Beaulieu. Kandace Dunn. Sheila St. Clair. Olivia Lone Bear. Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind. Rebecca Anderson. At the time of Bemidji's second Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women's Walk, some of these women had been missing for decades. Others are just recently gone. Still more are not missing at all; their families know exactly where they're buried.
RED LAKE -- Twelve people were arrested and Red Lake police seized large amounts of drugs, cash and stolen property while executing search warrants on the reservation last week. According to a Facebook post made by the Red Lake Police Department, law enforcement executed the three warrants at three separate homes following a “notable” uptick in overdoses.
RED LAKE—Longtime Red Lake Tribal Council member Richard Barrett, Sr. has died. According to an announcement posted to the council's Facebook page on Monday afternoon, Barrett, 75, is survived by his wife and other family members. Barrett was first elected to the tribal council in 2002, following the death of his predecessor. He has served the community as the Little Rock representative for 16 years. Roman Stately, Jr., who grew up with Barrett and represents the Red Lake district, described Barrett as a "gentleman."
BEMIDJI—A Redby man who pleaded guilty in December to the use of minors in a sexual performance video must spend 12 days in the Beltrami County Jail. During a hearing Monday, Richard Dead Derby, 29, received a stayed sentence of two years in prison. This means that, as long as he complies with the conditions of his probation, Derby will not have to spend any time in prison. But Ninth District Judge Paul Benshoof also sentenced Derby to 36 days in jail. He received credit for the 24 days he spent in jail after his initial arrest.
CASS LAKE—Leech Lake's secretary/treasurer Arthur "Archie" LaRose will be allowed to run for reelection despite his criminal record, according to the decision of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe's Tribal Election Court of Appeals. A panel of judges issued a decision and order Feb. 7, denying an appeal made by LaRose's opponent Donald Finn after LaRose was certified to run.
BEMIDJI—An emotional and largely symbolic sentencing hearing brought legal proceedings against Brandon Bjerknes to a close Thursday. Even Ninth District Judge Paul Benshoof described his sentence as "moot" during the hearing, shortly before sentencing Bjerknes—the former Bemidji Middle School assistant principal who posed as a teenager online in order to have sexual conversations with children—to a total seven years and six months in prison.