Murder charges were filed Tuesday against two Wright County teenagers in the death of a fellow 18-year-old who was dragged to his death by a pickup truck late at night during a drug deal gone bad.
Noelle A. Ziegelmann, of Montrose, and James D. Striebel, of Howard Lake, were charged in District Court with second-degree murder and robbery in the death of 18-year-old Justin Harvey.
The two, who have been jailed since Sunday, appeared on in court late Tuesday morning. Bail was set for Ziegelmann at $350,000 and at $500,000 for Striebel.
Harvey, of Montrose, had arranged a roadside meeting outside his house to sell a quarter-ounce of marijuana to Striebel. Striebel, in the passenger seat of the pickup, asked whether Ziegelmann, in the driver’s seat, could smell the marijuana, according to the charges.
Then Striebel grabbed the bags of marijuana and Ziegelmann floored the accelerator. Harvey hung on as the pickup’s tires squealed but soon let go, charges read. Deputies arrived to the 500 block of 1st Street N. and found Harvey gasping for breath and bleeding from his nose, mouth and ears.
On the ground around him were several $20 bills, a jewelry chain and the shoes that came off his feet from the impact of him hitting the road.
Assistant County Attorney Brian Lutes, in explaining why the passenger’s bail was higher than the driver’s, said “it appears [Striebel] was more involved in the decision to commit the robbery and the planning of it.”
Lutes added that Striebel currently has no permanent residence and also failed to appear for a court appearance in a matter the prosecutor did not disclose.
While cases involving hit-and-run lead to charges of criminal vehicular homicide, Lutes said the murder count was filed because the death “was caused during the course of a robbery.” He also pointed out that the more serious murder charge carries a potential sentence of 12½ years vs. four years for criminal vehicular homicide.
“Neither defendant,” Lutes said, “[have] had any significant criminal history” before these charges.
A male told a deputy at the scene that Striebel mentioned the robbery in a phone call and was looking for a place to hide. Authorities soon located Striebel and Ziegelmann at a house in Montrose, where her boyfriend lives. Both suspects surrendered.
Ziegelmann confessed to the plot to rob Harvey of the marijuana and that “she knew [Harvey] was on the vehicle and was maybe hung up in it” as she sped away, charges said.
Striebel, while being booked into jail, questioned one of the allegations against him, saying to a deputy, “ ‘Why am I being charged with robbery, when it was an attempted robbery?’ ” the complaint read.