DULUTH – A grand jury has indicted a Cloquet man on five counts of first-degree murder in the March killing of his pregnant girlfriend and her son.
Sheldon J. Thompson, 33, had already been charged with three counts of second-degree murder in the case. The enhanced charges come as prosecutors seek an aggravated sentence, which can now include life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Police say Thompson stabbed 27-year-old Jackie DeFoe dozens of times at her home on the Fond du Lac Reservation on March 7. DeFoe was 13 weeks pregnant at the time. Thompson also allegedly killed her 20-month-old son, Kevin, by beating him to death, charges say.
Investigators found the bodies hidden in two different bedrooms, the doors to which had been screwed shut. Medical examiners have ruled the deaths homicides.
On Wednesday Thompson faced a judge for the first time since the grand jury’s indictment last week. He appeared by video from the Carlton County jail, where he will continue to be held in lieu of $1 million bail.
Grand jury proceedings are secret under Minnesota law. The jurors charged Thompson with three counts of premeditated first-degree murder, including for the death of DeFoe’s unborn child, and two counts of domestic abuse first-degree murder.
Prosecutors have introduced evidence of Thompson’s abuse of DeFoe and her son in court filings arguing for the strongest possible sentence, saying the “victims were treated with particular cruelty for which the offender should be held responsible.”
At the time of the killings in March, Thompson was on unsupervised probation for a felony violation of a domestic assault no-contact order in 2017. Though he was sentenced to three years in prison for the crime, a plea deal provided a downward departure from sentencing guidelines, according to court records. He would have been in prison until July had he been ordered to serve the sentence.