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Fillmore County District Court

Fri, Nov 19th, 2010
Posted in Court

On Monday, November 15, 2010, Steven Leroy Vangness appeared before Judge Robert Benson in District Court facing two counts of domestic assault charges stemming from an argument involving his son, Ryan Vangness. If convicted on both charges, Vangness could face a maximum penalty of six years in prison and fines amounting to $13,000.00. Vangness, a 55-year old male from Canton, MN, called authorities on September 27, 2010, to report his son was in the process of breaking down his door. Fillmore County Deputy Michael Hadland was already en route to the residence in response to another call regarding a disturbance at the same residence. Deputy Sgt. Brian Miner was with Hadland when the second call came in from Vangness. The dispute between father and son allegedly occurred over rent money that Steven Vangness was asking from his son, Ryan, who was living with him at the time with his young daughter. A physical confrontation broke out and when Ryan attempted to leave with his daughter, Steven allegedly used force to try and stop him. Steven has a criminal history involving two convictions of assault within the past 10 years. He was released on his own recognizance, and Judge Benson set unconditional bail at $10,000.00 His next court appearance is scheduled for November 29, 2010.

Ryan Matthew Vangness, Steven's 24-year old son, also appeared before Judge Benson in District Court on November 15, 2010, facing three counts of domestic assault and terroristic threats, one count of fleeing a peace officer, two counts of driving while impaired and one count of driving after suspension of his driver's license. If convicted on all seven counts, the defendant could face a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison, 181 days in county jail and fines of up to $30,000.00. He has been charged with allegedly punching his father and making threats to do him physical harm over a dispute that started out regarding rent money but ended up when he tried to leave the residence with his daughter and the father wouldn't allow him to take her. Ryan then left with his father's vehicle and tried to flee peace authorities who were responding to a domestic disturbance call from his residence. Once officers had an opportunity to talk with Vangness, they were able to determine that he had been drinking and that his driver's license had been revoked. He was taken into custody for a DWI and probation violation. Vangness was released on his own recognizance and Judge Benson set unconditional bail at $20,000.00. His next court appearance is set for November 29, 2010.

On Monday, November 15, 2010, Nathan Randal Gossman, a 25-year old male from Canton, appeared in District Court before Judge Robert R. Benson facing eight counts of violation of domestic assault - No Contact Order and Order for Protection violation stemming from two separate incidents. On October 11, 2010, Officer Blaise Sass met with the victim who played voice mail recordings from her cell phone that she had received from the defendant who allegedly sent her numerous other messages. This went on from approximately June 23 to July 31 and again from approximately August 1 through October 5, 2010, after a Criminal Domestic Abuse No Contact Order was served on him June 23, 2010, along with a Harassment Restraining Order, which is in effect until June 23, 2012. The victim also stated that during this time the defendant allegedly sent letters to her younger brother at her residence. If convicted on all eight counts, Gossman could face a maximum penalty of 22 years in prison and fines totaling $52,000.00. The defendant was taken into custody and Judge Benson set conditional bail at $10,000 and unconditional bail at $20,000. Gossman's next court appearance is set for November 29, 2010.

Lucas James Ernst, a 23-year old male from Chatfield, appeared in District Court before Judge James Fabian on Tuesday, NOvember 16, 2010, facing six counts of robbery, theft and receiving stolen property. If convicted on all six counts, Ernst could face a maximum penalty of up to 55 years in prison and fines totaling $110,000.00. On November 7, 2010, Chatfield Police Officer Steve Schmiedeberg was dispatched to the Greenway gas station in Chatfield on a reported robbery that had just taken place. Officer Schmiedeberg questioned the female employee who was on duty at the time. She explained to him that she was in the process of closing for the night and while she was taking trash outside she was approached by a single male, dressed in black with a ski mask covering his face. He allegedly ordered her back into the store and demanded she open the safe and deposit money from the safe into a pillow case he had with him. Before leaving the station the employee told Schmiedeberg that he ordered her to lie on the floor with her hands on her head. After he left, she said she waited about a minute to make sure he was gone before calling the authorities. After an extensive investigation by the authorities, they were eventually led to Lucas Ernst who admitted to taking approximately $5,000.00 in cash from the Greenway station. Ernst is currently being held in the Fillmore County Jail. Judge Fabian set conditional bail at $10,000.00 and unconditional cash/bond at $30,000. His next court appearance is set for November 29, 2010.

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