Naylor denies killing, satanic ties
Convicted murderer Dan Naylor shows a range of expressions during an interview at Oak Park Heights prison near Stillwater. The 25-year-old Rochester man, who continues to claim his innocence, is serving a life prison sentence after being convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Wayne Lange a year ago. STILLWATER -- Convicted murderer Dan Naylor is adamant about two things: He did not kill Wayne Lange and he is not a satanist.
``I was made out to look like the Charles Manson of Minnesota,'' the 25-year-old Rochester man said in an interview at Oak Park Heights Prison, where he is serving a life sentence after being convicted of first-degree murder a year ago by an Olmsted County jury. He will not be eligible for release for 30 years.
Key witnesses against Naylor were five other people involved in Lange's murder who pleaded guilty to lesser charges and who also are serving prison sentences. All five testified that Naylor stabbed Lange to death in a rural Eyota field while they watched. All five conceded they did nothing to help Lange or get help for him after he was stabbed. The testimony included allegations of Naylor's involvement in the occult.
Satanism is a critical point in Naylor's appeal, which is before the Minnesota Supreme Court. The defense claimed the satanism evidence served only to arouse the passions and prejudices of the jury, while the state said it indicates Naylor planned the killing. Naylor is planning an appeal into the federal court system if he fails at the state level.
In the meantime, he spends his days studying law, crocheting and wondering why some of his best friends ganged up and testified against him.
``I didn't kill Lange,'' he said. But he won't point the finger at anyone else.
``I won't say who did it. I couldn't live with myself if I did. I won't shorten my term at the expense of someone else,'' he said. Rather, he hopes he will be vindicated through the appeals process.
Naylor also denies he threatened any of the other five.
``I am supposed to have wanted to kill all those people. I have never said that. They will get their payment,'' he said.
Still, he said he is puzzled.
``A few of them were my best friends,'' he said of the other five. ``I feel sorry for them. I am confused about why they did it,'' he said.
Until recently, Naylor worked in the paper products unit at the prison. Now he says he is spending most of his time reviewing law books to help with his appeal. Prison is lonely, he said.
``All the people I believed were my true friends. They are not there any more. I miss a lot of people.''
He said he also has regrets that innocent people have been hurt.
``I feel sorry for the innocent ones who had nothing to do with it. People who got sucked in'' because they knew some of us, he said. He said some members of his family have suffered and are undergoing mental health treatment.
``I guess if I end up doing 30 years, this will be my home,'' Naylor said. ``I may not like it, but this will be my home.''
Naylor apologized to Rochester citizens for his actions after the verdict was returned, such as gesturing with his middle finger.
``I apologize to anyone who may have been offended,'' he said.p