Pregnant woman's alleged shooter charged

  • Updated: May 24, 2008 - 4:47 PM

A 26-year-old St. Paul woman has been charged with three counts of assault after she allegedly fired six shots through an apartment door and wounded a pregnant woman who later delivered a baby boy early.

Evalyn Lia Bheaanu and a second suspect -- a 30-year-old Brooklyn Center man -- were apprehended Thursday during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, St. Paul police spokesman Tom Walsh said Friday. The man has been released pending further investigation.

About 12:15 a.m. Sunday, Andrea M. Benjamin, 23, and her boyfriend, Richard M. Brown, 18, were hit by shots fired through the metal door of her apartment in the 1700 block of Case Avenue on St. Paul's East Side.

Benjamin's fetus also was hit, resulting in a premature delivery at 7 1/2 months. The baby is expected to survive, Walsh said. Benjamin, initially hospitalized in serious condition, has been released from Regions Hospital; Brown remains in serious condition, a hospital spokeswoman said Friday.

According to the complaint filed Friday in Ramsey County District Court, Bheaanu told police she met a man named "Mike" in a bar and stayed with him last Saturday in an apartment adjacent to Benjamin's.

"Mike" told Benjamin that while Bheaanu was sleeping he stole $40 from her purse, the complaint said. Brown then stole her cell phones, the document said.

The complaint said Bheaanu returned later that night and began banging on Benjamin's door. When there was no answer, she began shooting, the document said.

According to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, both Bheaanu and the male suspect have criminal records that include convictions for check forgery. The man also has served time for fifth-degree assault.

ANTHONY LONETREE AND PAT PHEIFER

Cockfighting charges filed in St. Paul

A St. Paul man has been charged with felony animal cruelty after police discovered about 40 men around a makeshift cockfighting ring in his basement last month.

Some of the men were holding roosters that appeared to be ready for fighting; other birds were in cages.

Pha Xiong, 39, lives at the duplex in the 800 block of Margaret Street where the birds were found. He initially told police "nobody was fighting chickens," according to the complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court. Officers had been sent to Xiong's home shortly after midnight April 19 on a report of disorderly conduct after about 20 people were seen carrying chickens into the house.

Officers found cockfighting paraphernalia. An animal-control officer took 33 roosters from the house. A veterinarian found 29 of them were underweight; most had lost feathers. The veterinarian's opinion was that the "birds had been used or were being maintained for fighting as opposed to meat or egg production."

On April 22, Xiong told an investigator he kept 15 roosters in his basement; the other birds had been brought by guests, the complaint said. Xiong said they would tape the roosters' feet and let them fight with beaks only. He said it was only for entertainment and denied gambling was going on.

PAT PHEIFER

Man siphons gas while smoking, police say

A Lake Elmo man inspired by a TV report about gas thefts was caught trying to siphon gas from an underground tank at a BP station on St. Paul's East Side Thursday.

Police said Timothy D. Emert, 45, used a battery-powered pump to siphon about 15 gallons through a hose that ran from his van into the underground tank.

Emert, who reportedly was smoking as he siphoned, told authorities he was unemployed, desperate and had gotten the idea to siphon the gas from a TV news report, according to a complaint filed against him Friday. Emert was charged with possession of burglary tools, a felony.

The arrest comes about two months after a North Oaks man was caught trying to use a pump-and-hose system to steal gas from the tank of a blue minivan in Vadnais Heights.

ANTHONY LONETREE

Three-vehicle crash kills one in east metro

A driver was killed when she lost control of her car on an east metro freeway and her overturned car was struck by two cars, authorities said Friday.

She was identified as Deanne E. Binde, 21, of Lake Park in northwestern Minnesota. The other motorists escaped with minor injuries or no injuries.

The chain of events began about 10:25 p.m. Thursday on westbound Interstate 94 in Woodbury, when Binde's car drifted into the median, struck a barrier, overturned and came to a rest in the left-hand lane, the State Patrol said.

Two other westbound cars struck Binde's car and she was killed, the patrol said.

PAUL WALSH

Mentor is accused of sexually abusing boy

A convicted sex offender and former reservist for the Rosemount Police Department has been jailed on charges that he sexually abused a teenage boy for about three years.

James J. Lucier, 47, of Rosemount, abused the boy during a mentoring relationship, according to charges filed last week in Dakota County. The nature of the mentoring was not detailed in the charges.

The boy reported the alleged abuse to authorities in May 2007.

Lucier was being held on $250,000 bail. His next court date is scheduled for June 27.

On May 2, Lucier was convicted on two counts of criminal sexual conduct for abusing a teenager while he was in a position of authority.

PAUL WALSH

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