Police file request to check Collins' e-mail for clues

Authorities believe Pierre Collins' e-mail account has information and evidence related to the death of his 10-year-old son, Barway Collins, according to a search warrant request filed Thursday. Early in the investigation into the boy's disappearance, Crystal police said Pierre Collins and an "uncle" were the last known people to see him on March 18.

Although prosecutors have said Pierre Collins acted alone, the document says the Crystal man and the "uncle" could have communicated through Collins' Yahoo! e-mail account. Collins was arrested on April 13, two days after the boy's body was recovered from the Mississippi River. Collins is in the Hennepin County jail, charged with second-degree murder. His next court appearance is May 14.

KAREN ZAMORA

Fitch's seized funds in limbo

The fate of nearly $3,000 seized from Brian Fitch during his arrest last year in the murder of Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick is still uncertain as Fitch's case moves on to the appellate process. On Thursday, Dakota County District Judge Karen Asphaug asked prosectors and Fitch's attorney, Lauri Traub, to provide a written answer as to whether state law grants the court authority to require restitution payments be made using seized property. Traub filed a motion in March asking for the return of the cash. Prosecutors have maintained that the cash is considered evidence in the murder case. Fitch was convicted and sentenced to life without parole in February, but the state argued it should retain all evidence until Fitch has exhausted his appeals.

Stephen Montemayor

Son sentenced in choking death

A 26-year-old man was sentenced Thursday to more than 27 years in prison for fatally choking his mother's Twin Cities boyfriend, someone the son viewed as a rival for the woman's attention. Shawn R. Doherty, 26, pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder in the January 2014 death of Paul Bulen, 55, of Mahtomedi, at the home of the defendant's mother, 52-year-old Lynda Doherty, who was running errands at the time of the attack.

paul walsh

Man shot dead in south Mpls.

A 19-year-old man was shot to death Thursday in a south Minneapolis apartment in an incident that police said appears to involve people who knew each other. No arrests have been made in the shooting in the 2100 block of 3rd Avenue S. Homicide investigators were pursuing leads. Dan Largen, operations manager for the building's owner, said neither the victim nor the shooter were tenants. "The actual tenant [of the apartment] had only lived there for five days," he said. Largen said tenants had told him of "lots of traffic and noise" coming from the third-floor residence. Anyone with information is asked to call the police tip line at 612-692-8477 or to text 847 411, enter MPD and the tip.

Susan FeydeR

3 escapees flee St. Croix prison

Three prisoners remained on the loose Thursday after escaping from a regional prison in St. Croix County, Wis. The men fled the minimum-security St. Croix Correctional Center, in New Richmond, about 10:15 p.m. Wednesday. They were last seen wearing long underwear tops and bottoms, with gray shorts and running shoes. The fugitives were identified as Jesse Jamal Fairley, who is serving a sentence for burglary and has ties to St. Paul; Andre Lee Vance, formerly of Madison, Wis., who is serving time for operating a motor vehicle without owner consent and burglary; and Kyle John Peterson, formerly of Winnebago County, Wis., who is serving a sentence for forgery and possession of drugs.

Police described Fairley, 26, as 5 feet 8 and 142 pounds. Vance, 21, is 6 feet 4 and 189 pounds. Peterson, 19, is 5 feet 10 and 165 pounds. A 2015 silver Hyundai Sonata four-door was stolen about 3 miles north of New Richmond, but a possible connection to the escapees hasn't been confirmed, police said. The car has Wisconsin license plates 597 LMS. Anyone with any information is asked to call St. Croix County Dispatch at 715-386-4704 or contact detectives Yehlik or Koehler at 715-246-6667.

PAUL WALSH

Motorcyclist deaths surge

Motorcycle riders in Minnesota — where an early blooming of spring made getting out on the roads more enticing — are dying at a higher rate this riding season, according to the latest data from the state.

There have been 11 rider deaths through Wednesday, with four of those occurring since Saturday. That tally equals the number of motorcycle deaths at this time for the past three years combined, according to data from the Department of Public Safety.

It's the highest total at this point in the riding season on record since 1994, the latest data available, the department said. Of the 11 riders who have died this season, seven were not wearing helmets, according to state statistics. Helmets are not mandatory in Minnesota.

Police said drivers of all vehicles share responsibility for motorcyclists' safety.

Paul Walsh