Charges against Duluth teenager dropped in murder case

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 19, 2012 - 9:51 PM

Michael W. Siewert, two others still face charges.

A 17-year-old Duluth boy is no longer charged with beating and strangling a woman whose body was dumped in swampy land south of Duluth.

The charge against Joseph A. Yellow in the September killing of Cristyna L. Watson, 25, of Floodwood, Minn., was dropped because of a lack of evidence, Carlton County Attorney Thom Pertler said Tuesday.

Pertler said that because of follow-up work by investigators, he felt it was "responsible and ethical" to dismiss the second-degree murder allegation in the juvenile petition against Yellow.

Still charged in the killing is Michael W. Siewert, 22, who is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday in the case. Pertler said dismissing the case against Yellow will have no impact on the prosecution of Siewert.

According to the criminal complaint filed on Oct. 11:

Sometime between Sept. 12 and 14, Watson was struck on the head with a hammer by Siewert, then strangled.

The body of Watson, who had been missing since Sept. 8, was found Oct. 4, hidden in swampy property in Cloquet owned by a co-defendant.

Siewert drove Watson's car to the Twin Cities, where he traded it and her cellphone for illicit drugs.

Also arrested and charged as accomplices after the fact were Siewert's girlfriend, Alyssa R. Peterson, 24, of Cloquet, Minn.; and Clifford J. Thompson, 56, who owns and lives on the property where Watson's body was found.

Siewert, of Duluth, was arrested on the day Watson's body was discovered, in connection with charges that he shot a man in the foot in a gang-related crime. Watson's car turned up in St. Paul.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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