A 21-year-old Chanhassen man was indicted on charges of premeditated first-degree murder by a Carver County grand jury last week for shooting his sister 18 times inside their family home filled with hundreds of spent bullet casings.
Joseph T. Ness was initially charged with intentional second-degree murder in connection with the May killing of Noelle Ness, 25, according to Carver County attorney Mark Metz, but the jury came back Aug. 10 with the indictment.
An omnibus hearing for Ness is slated for Oct. 6.
Metz said in a statement on the indictment that Ness retains the presumption of innocence "unless and until the state proves every element of the charged crimes beyond a reasonable doubt." Metz offered no motive for the shooting.
According to court documents:
On May 8, deputies were dispatched to the Ness home on Landings Drive after the mother ran to a neighbor's house saying that "Joey shot and killed Noelle." That neighbor called 911 around 2:20 p.m. and about 45 minutes later, another nearby resident said Ness had walked onto her property confessing that he had just killed his sister. They called 911 and Ness was arrested and held in lieu of $1 million bail.
Inside the bullet-riddled home with many shot-out windows just off Lake Minnewashta., authorities found six rifles, including AR-15 and AK-47 variants, ammunition and high-capacity drum magazines.
Ness shot from his bedroom into his sister's room across the hall, according to the criminal complaint, but it noted that she was also shot from closer range "as rounds traveled vertically through her bed."
Weeks before she was killed, Noelle Ness had competed in a dance competition, according to instructors who shared tributes to the young woman online after the shooting. Noelle Ness was part of the Edina-based dancing school, Dance With Us America, and a dance studio in Minnestrista, The Fosters Dance.
Dance instructor Robert Foster wrote back in May that Noelle was constantly improving on the dance floor.
"We lost a sweet innocent soul. My heart is heavy with not only the loss of her but for her family … I'm still trying to wrap my head around what happened. Dance in peace Noelle."