DNA exonerates man jailed in rape case

DNA test results have exonerated a man jailed for nearly two months on charges that he grabbed a teenager off a Minneapolis street at gunpoint and raped her twice.

Authorities say they now have the right man, convicted sex offender Harold T. Davis, 34, of Minneapolis, and they have charged him with first-degree rape and other felonies in connection with the late-night attacks on the same 15-year-old on Nov. 2 in two north Minneapolis alleys.

Police arrested Charles E. Stevenson, 34, on Nov. 9 at his home in Minnetonka, and he was charged in Hennepin County District Court. The arrest was based on the girl identifying Stevenson as her attacker from among photos of known sex offenders.

The prosecutorial about-face is based on DNA test results coming back implicating Davis, said Chuck Laszewski, spokesman for the county attorney’s office.

PAUL WALSH

Man pleads guilty to killing 3-month-old girl

A former White Bear Lake man admitted Wednesday to killing his then-girlfriend’s 3-month-old daughter because the child wouldn’t stop crying. “My stress levels were too high,” Austin B. Gustafson testified in court. “I lost control.”

Gustafson, 28, of Pipestone, Minn., pleaded guilty in Ramsey County District Court to one count of first-degree manslaughter in exchange for prosecutors dropping the original second-degree murder count. He agreed to a prison term of 10¾ years.

The infant was injured on April 30, 2014, in the White Bear Lake apartment Gustafson shared at the time with his then-girlfriend. He called 911 and the infant was taken to a hospital, where she was placed on life support and died a few days later.

Gustafson will be sentenced on Feb. 18.

Chao Xiong

2 police officers hurt in clash with fighter

A mixed-martial-arts fighter attacked two Minneapolis police officers and sent both to the hospital with head injuries, but the cops eventually overwhelmed the man with a second shot from a Taser, prosecutors allege.

Robert M. Mullen, 22, of Minneapolis, was charged Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court with assaulting a police officer, obstructing the legal process, domestic assault and disorderly conduct in connection with the brawl Monday.

The officers, Troy Lennander and Molly Trupe, were treated at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, according to the criminal complaint. They were not admitted to the hospital and have returned to work, said police spokesman John Elder.

As Mullen was being led from the home in the 2500 block of Vincent Avenue N. by other officers, he said he was a mixed-martial-arts fighter. Mullen registered with the Minnesota Office of Combative Sports but did not finalize his application.

PAUL WALSH

Stabbing victim was Robbinsdale man

A man who died this week of stab wounds suffered last month in Minneapolis was identified Wednesday by the Hennepin County medical examiner as Theotis Johnson, 45, of Robbinsdale.

Johnson was stabbed in the chest Dec. 19 in the 700 block of Spring St. NE. He died early Tuesday at Hennepin County Medical Center. Investigators identified a suspect after interviewing witnesses, said police spokesman John Elder. The Hennepin County attorney’s office is reviewing the case for possible charges.

STAFF REPORT

St. Cloud woman charged in father’s death

A 38-year-old woman killed her father in their St. Cloud home, possibly with a hammer, and fled to Kentucky, where she was found and arrested, authorities said Wednesday.

Lisa M. Kearney was located in Louisville and charged Wednesday by warrant with second-degree murder in the death of Jeffrey E. Schilling, 66. His body was found Monday.

Kearney appeared in court Wednesday in Louisville and refused to waive extradition back to Minnesota. Bail was set at $250,000, and she remains in custody.

PAUL WALSH

‘Semi of interest’ sought in 2015 crash

The Minnesota State Patrol is looking for what it is calling a “semi of interest” in connection with a rollover crash that killed two teenage brothers from Moorhead, Minn., last summer.

On Wednesday, the patrol released photos of a semitrailer truck believed to have been in the vicinity of the June 23, 2015, crash on Interstate 94 near milepost 69, east of Fergus Falls in northwestern Minnesota.

Investigators have been trying to piece together exactly what happened that caused an eastbound pickup truck driven by Zachary Kvalvog, 18, to go off the road around 9:10 a.m. Kvalvog hit the shoulder, overcorrected, rolled into the median and then came to rest in the westbound lanes. Kvalvog, 18, and his brother, Connor, 14, were killed.

“A semi may be a factor, maybe cutting them off,” said Sgt. Jesse Grabow of the State Patrol. “This was not a hit-and-run. It is a semi of interest.”

The semi is described as a late-1980s to mid-’90s Kenworth tractor, Model T600 to T800, with an Aerodyne sleeper and dark blue cab. It has what appears to be a KW T680 Grille Guard or something similar, the patrol said.

Photographs also show one radiator, or grill bar, running vertically from the hood ornament straight down. Its license plate from an unknown state has a sequence of numbers of either 024 or 025, most likely at the end of the plate sequence. The semi and its all-white trailer, which has no visible identifying marks on it, was determined to be near the crash site, Grabow said.

Anybody with information about a vehicle matching this description is asked to call Sgt. Rod Eischens at 1-218-846-8244 or e-mail Rod.Eischens@state.mn.us.

TIM HARLOW

One suffers burns in fire at auto body shop

Accidentally lit gasoline caused an auto body shop in a residential block of north Minneapolis to catch fire Wednesday, leaving one person burned, authorities said.

Firefighters were called at 10:40 a.m. to Fremont Automotive Service at 4053 Fremont Av. N., where they found the shop fully engulfed, according to Assistant Minneapolis Fire Chief Charles Brynteson. A worker inside the body shop suffered minor burns. Crews protected one nearby home and evacuated a second.

After several hours and a second alarm to assist with manpower, the fire was under control at 2 p.m.

PAUL WALSH