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District Court 12/27/10


Thu, Dec 23rd, 2010
Posted in Court

Leatha Lee Van Cleave, a 42-year old female from Mabel, appeared before Judge Robert R. Benson in District Court Monday, December 20, 2010, facing four counts of assault and disorderly conduct. If convicted on all four counts, the maximum penalty is 15 years is prison, 180 days in jail and/or fines totaling $32,000.00. On December 2, 2010, Fillmore County Deputy Les Ladewig answered a domestic disturbance and possible suicide call involving the defendant and her boyfriend. When Deputy Ladewig arrived at the residence, he observed Ms. Van Cleave to be extremely intoxicated and the room was in shambles with a Christmas tree tipped over, broken ornaments and fresh candle wax was spilled on the walls and carpet. She told Ladewig that a fight had ensued between her and her boyfriend and that he had allegedly punched her for turning the volume of the radio up. Deputy Ladewig enlisted the aid of Sgt. Adam Eide from the Rushford Police Department who was able to locate the boyfriend for his side of the story. During the interview Eide observed a large red mark on the left cheek and top of his head from allegedly being hit several times with an ash tray by the defendant, causing him to lose temporary consciousness Eide later reported this information to Ladewig and assisted him in taking Van Cleave into custody. While in the bathroom, Van Cleave began banging her head against the wall, causing the law officers to restrain her and have her taken by ambulance to detox. She was later released on her own recognizance and Judge Benson set unconditional bail at $10,000.00. Van Cleave's next court appearance is set for January 10, 2011.

Appearing before Judge Benson in District Court on Monday, December 20, 2010, was Hannah Pauline Ernst, an 18-year old female from Preston, facing five counts of aiding and abetting in theft and receiving stolen property. If convicted on all five counts, Ernst could face a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and/or fines totaling $80,000.00. Ernst was arrested in connection with a robbery that took place at the Greenway Gas Station in Chatfield on November 7, 2010. In the complaint, Ernst allegedly received money from her brother that she knew had been stolen from Greenway. The defendant was released on her own recognizance and Judge Benson set unconditional bail at $10,000.00. Her next court appearance will be on January 10, 2011.

Also appearing before Judge Benson on Monday, December 20, 2010, in connection with the Greenway robbery, was Cody Garness, a 19-year old male from Canton. Garness is charged with five counts of aiding and abetting in theft and receiving stolen property and if convicted on all five counts, faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, fines totaling $80,000.00 or both. Garness, a boyfriend to Hannah Ernst, allegedly aided and abetted in the robbery at Greenway by accepting money known to be stolen from the store. He was released on his own recognizance and Judge Benson set unconditional bail at $10,000.00. His next scheduled court appearance is January 10, 2011.

On Tuesday, December 21, 2010, Daniel Guy Abbott of Spring Valley, appeared in District Court before Judge Robert R. Benson for sentencing. Appearing with the defendant was his attorney, Frederick S. Suhler, Jr. Attorney for the prosecution was Mr. Brett Corson. Based on the defendant's plea of guilty to count one, violation of predatory sex offender registration, the court found Mr. Abbott guilty and order him committed to the Commissioner of Corrections for 12 months and one day, concurrent with his present commitment. At least two-thirds of this time must be spent in prison, and one-third of his sentence may be served on supervised release.

Charles Curtis Erickson of Eyota appeared before Judge Robert Benson in District Court on Monday, December 20, 2010, for sentencing. On November 10, 2010, a jury found the defendant guilty of criminal vehicular homicide while under the influence of alcohol in the death of Lee Comstock on March 22, 2010. The Court ordered Mr. Erickson to be committed to the custody of the Commissioner of Corrections for a period of 69 months with at least two-thirds of that sentence spent in prison and one-third on supervised release. The defendant received credit for 102 days previously served. In addition, Mr. Erickson was ordered to pay fines and fees totaling $140.00, along with a co-pay of $75.00 to the Public Defender Fund and restitution to the Comstock family in the amount of $7,335.32.

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