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Fillmore County District Court

Fri, Nov 7th, 2008
Posted in Court

Felony Sentencing

• Aimee Ann Phelps, aka O'Connell, 34, of Chatfield, was sentenced in Fillmore County District Court on October 27, 2008, after pleading guilty to violating election laws.

Phelps admitted to voting in the Pilot Mound General Election, on March 11, 2008, without first having had her right to vote restored following a felony conviction.

Judge Robert Benson sentenced Phelps to one year probation and 25 hours of community service.

• Jordan Kimball, 19, of Mabel, was sentenced by Judge Benson in District Court on October 27, 2008, after pleading guilty to fleeing a police officer.

Kimball admitted in court that on Nov. 14, 2007, in Rushford, that he sped away from a police officer when he was stopped for improper taillights and crossing the center line. Kimball proceeded to speed away southbound and eventually lost control on a gravel farm driveway. Kimball left the vehicle and fled through fields on foot, refusing to stop when the officer shouted to him.

Kimball was sentenced to three years probation, nine days in jail, and ordered to pay $1,000 fine, and 30 days of home-monitoring after jail time is completed.

• Karen Evine VandeZande, 47, of Lanesboro, was sentenced on October 20, 2008, in the Fillmore County District Court after pleading guilty to felony issuance of dishonored checks.

VandeZande admitted in court that she issued checks to Village Foods and S&A Petroleum, both in Lanesboro, to be drawn from her checking account with Merchant's Bank in St. Charles. The NSF checks totaled $545.

Judge Benson sentenced Vandezande to 50 hours of community service, ordered her to pay restitution for the goods bought, and a fine of $1,087.

Felony Charges

• Collin Daniel Pontillo, 19, of Preston, appeared in District Court on Nov. 3, 2008, to face charges of assault with a dangerous weapon.

According to the criminal complaint, it is alleged that on July 24, 2008, Pontillo shot his BB gun from his home in Preston at a 17-year-old male who was outside of his own home across the street hitting the youth. The boy's father went across the street to speak with Pontillo, asking him to "fess up" to the act. The victim's father called the authorities when Pontillo refused to admit shooting his son.

Judge Benson released Pontillo pending his next court date scheduled for Nov. 17, 2008.

• Brett Harvey Enger, 49, of Preston, was charged in District Court with theft and possession of a counterfeit check.

According to court documents, it is alleged that from March 17, 2008 until April 2, 2008, Enger obtained three counterfeit checks he claims were sent to him through the US Postal Service and UPS. He said he received email requests for help depositing money in US banks and help cashing checks, and it wasn't until after he deposited the money and took out the cash to be mailed to the origin of each check that he realized it was a scam. The Root River State Bank of Chatfield is currently out $5,221.73 from Enger's counterfeit action.

Enger was released by Judge Benson pending his next court date on Nov. 17, 2008.

• Michael Anthony Bliege, 18, of LeMars, Iowa, was charged in District Court with receiving stolen property and bringing stolen goods into the state.

According to the criminal complaint, it is alleged that on October 1, 2008, Bliege and another male named Jared Lee Schroeder fueled their vehicle at Preston Motor Mart and left without paying. When a police officer tried to stop the car near the intersection of County Roads 21 and 12, the car sped away and lost control, landing in a ditch. Schroeder explained that they were using his uncle's car with permission and they fled police because they didn't have money to pay for their gas. The police department was later notified that the car belonging to Schroeder's uncle, Preston Schroeder, was taken without permission.

Judge Benson released Bliege on his own recognizance pending his next court date on Nov. 17, 2008.

• Casey Thomas Merchelwitz, 24, of Lanesboro, is free after posting $1,000 conditional bail after being charged in District Court on Monday, October 27 with assault and domestic assault.

According to court documents, it is alleged that on October 25, Merchelwitz assaulted his girl friend during a domestic dispute. It is further alleged that Merchelwitz held the woman in a strangle-hold during the incident.

Merchelwitz has been charged with assault and domestic assault by strangulation, both felonies. He also faces gross misdemeanor charges of assault and domestic assault.

Judge Robert Benson set conditional bail at $1,000 and unconditional bail at $10,000. A restraining order has been issued in the case.

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