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Fillmore County District Court - August 16, 2010

Fri, Aug 13th, 2010
Posted in Court

On Monday, August 9, 2010, Elizabeth Katherine Rachael, a 24-year old female from Harmony, appeared in District Court before Judge Robert R. Benson facing one count of theft. If convicted, the defendant could face up to five years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both. From about April 30, 2010, through June 18, 2010, the defendant allegedly took money from Wheeler's Bar, where she was employed as a bartender and waitress, totaling over $1,000.00 but not more than $5,000.00. Owner Jeremy Kruegel contacted Fillmore County Sheriff's Deputy Captain John DeGeorge saying that he suspected the defendant of taking money from him over a period of several weeks. She was often responsible for making overnight deposits, and Krueger noticed the amount of money deposited was less than it should have been according to his records when Rachael made the deposits. There were other incidents as well where money was missing during the time the defendant was at work. Captain DeGeorge questioned the defendant who initially denied the charges. However, after further questioning, she did admit to some of the charges saying she needed money to help pay bills. Defendant was released on her own recognizance, and Judge Benson set unconditional bail at $10,000. Her next court appearance is scheduled for August 30, 2010.

Also appearing in District Court on August 9 was Ernest Michael Valente, 30, from Harmony. Valente came before Judge Robert R. Benson facing six counts of terroristic threats, harassment and stalking. If convicted on all six counts, Valente could face a maximum of up to 12 years in prison, 180 days in jail and fines totaling $28,000.00. On or about July 2, 2010, an employee at Wheeler's Bar in Harmony reported to Captain DeGeorge that he had received several threatening phone calls from the defendant. He further reported that Valente had entered the Motor Mart in Preston where he was also employed and threatened to harm him because of his involvement in the theft incident at Wheeler's. Apparently he was suspicious of who was taking the missing money and reported his suspicions to the owner. The defendant left several incriminating messages on his voice mail, which DeGeorge listened to and recognized the voice as belonging to Michael Valente. Valente's next scheduled court appearance is August 30, 2010. He was released on his own recognizance and Judge Benson set unconditional bail at $10,000.00,

On Tuesday, August 10, 2010, Brian Lee Back of Davis, Illinois, appeared before Judge James A. Fabian for sentencing. He had been charged with nine counts of criminal sexual conduct. The Court found him guilty of count five, criminal sexual conduct in the second degree involving the personal injury of a mentally impaired 14-year old female. All other charges were dismissed. Mr. Back was represented by his attorney, Patrick J. Arendt, of Rochester. Attorney Brett Corson represented the State. The defendant was committed to the Commissioner of Corrections in St. Cloud for 90 months. The minimum term of imprisonment must equal two-thirds of the total executed sentence, after which the defendant would be eligible for supervised release equaling one-third of the total executed sentence.

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