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Shelly Simon, who lives across the street, said she thought at first that LaDue was practicing archery or some similar sport.
“Now,” she said, “it’s kind of disturbing.”
Cliff Keyes, the single father of boys ages 15 and 16, said he would hear the “thwacks” or “thuds” of LaDue’s axes hitting the tree. The teen didn’t socialize with the Keyes boys, but his parents seemed to be nice people, he said.
LaDue’s mother and father were in court when he made his first appearance Thursday morning, said prosecutor Brenda Miller, an assistant county attorney. A plea was not entered into the record, she said.
After LaDue’s arrest he was held at Many Rivers juvenile detention center. The center refused to readmit him after the court hearing because he made “homicidal threats” against staff members there, Miller said. While being admitted, LaDue told a staff member that he wanted to wrap a telephone cord around her neck and strangle her, Miller said.
LaDue now is being held at the Red Wing detention center, the most secure juvenile center in the state. His next court appearance is set for May 12.
At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Lee was asked about reaction within LaDue’s school.
“I do think that people are in shock,” he said. “I know the staff is. I’m sure the students are as well.”
But, he added, “We have escaped what could have been a horrific experience. We can either believe this occurred because of a lucky break or, as I do, choose to believe that God was looking out for all of us.”
Staff writer Mary Lynn Smith contributed to this report.
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