A 30-year-old man has been sentenced to the maximum legally allowed for fatally wounding his girlfriend with a bow and arrow at a south-central Minnesota campsite before shooting himself in the head.
Dwayne A. Case, of Morgan, Minn., was sentenced Tuesday in Renville County District Court to a term topping 35 years for second-degree murder of Elizabeth M. Gregg, 45, also of Morgan.
With credit for time served in custody since his arrest and the probability of supervised release, Case is scheduled to spend about the next 24 years in prison.
Deputies responded to an emergency call June 12, about 30 miles northwest of New Ulm, where Case and Gregg had been sharing a tent. The deputies found Case with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head from a rifle, leaving him hospitalized for weeks.
Gregg’s body, with a pierce wound to the torso, was in their tent along with a compound bow and arrows in a quiver. She had been shot after she got in Case’s truck following an argument and wanted to leave, according to court records. The criminal complaint against Case noted there was a no-contact court order filed that barred him from seeing Gregg.
In December, Case pleaded guilty to second-degree intentional murder under a Norgaard plea, meaning that he contends he could not recall the incident but acknowledges that he likely committed the crime.
Case’s defense argued for the low end of the state guidelines, a term of 24-plus years, pointing out that he would remain incarcerated until at least his 45th birthday.
In her court filing, defense attorney Greta Smolnisky said her client has struggled with depression and substance abuse, and has been described as “a caring, compassionate and hardworking man.”
Smolnisky wrote that “the people closest to Mr. Case have a difficult time comprehending how this tragedy could have happened. [The couple] share a complicated relationship. ... Persistent drug use was a part of the relationship as well.”
Prosecutors contend Case had intercourse with Gregg’s body after she was fatally wounded.While Judge Randall Slieter didn’t explain in open court why he gave Case the longest term possible, County Attorney David Torgelson said he’s confident that Case’s actions after shooting Gregg “probably contributed to a sentence at the top of the range.”
The defense “could have refuted” the intercourse allegations, Torgelson added, but declined.
DNA test results on semen confirmed that Case had intercourse with Gregg, the prosecution filing read.