m5851 BC-MN-HomeInvasionKilli 2ndLd-Writethru 02-10 0763
2 charged in home invasion killings in rural Minn.
Eds: UPDATES with details from 911 transcript, Seiberlich’s bail.
AP Photo MP101
MORA, Minn. (AP) — Authorities said a double killing that shocked this eastern Minnesota town was set in motion when one suspect texted another to ask: "Are you up for a crazy night?"
Jennifer Seiberlich told investigators she assumed her friend Craig Hohenwald meant something to do with marijuana, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday. When she called him, he told her he’d give more details later, the complaint said.
Instead, Hohenwald and Seiberlich were charged Tuesday in the stabbing deaths of a retired couple, Larry and Lois Steenerson, in their home near Mora in east-central Minnesota on Sunday night.
While the criminal complaint did not detail a motive for the killings, authorities and the Steenerson’s lawyer said there had been an ongoing dispute between the Hohenwald and Steenerson families. Hohenwald’s mother had fallen behind on repaying the Steenersons about $250,000 from a property deal, according to court documents. A lawsuit was set to go to trial in June.
According to court documents, a judge ordered the Kanabec County sheriff’s office on Feb. 2 to seize property from the Hohenwalds on behalf of the Steenersons, including several tractors and other implements, and 24 horses and cattle.
Hohenwald, 27, of Brook Park, was charged with four counts of second-degree murder. Seiberlich, 28, of Mora, was charged with two counts of aiding an offender for allegedly helping Hohenwald after the killings.
According to the criminal complaint, Lois Steenerson, 66, called 911 to say there was a robbery and that shots had been fired.
"Somebody’s robbing us," she said, according to a 911 transcript released by the sheriff’s office. "They’ve shot. There’s guns out here. Quick."
In a second call, she said someone had broken into her home and stabbed her.
Larry Steenerson, 61, then spoke to 911 in a third call, and identified Hohenwald as the assailant to the dispatcher.
"They’re trying to kill us here," he said, according to the transcript. "Craig. Ohh! Craig Hohenwald."
Then Lois Steenerson made a final call to 911 to say she had been stabbed in the neck.
"I’m dying. Ohh!" she said.
Mora police officers arriving at the scene saw a man running from the front door toward a parked car, the complaint said. Seiberlich was in the car and tried to back it up, but officers blocked them in, the complaint said. Hohenwald was heard uttering something about his family and a real estate or land deal, the complaint said.
The officers said Hohenwald was covered in blood. They recovered a bloody knife and a bloody gun from under the passenger seat of Seiberlich’s vehicle, where Hohenwald had been sitting, the complaint said.
Police found Lois Steenerson in her bedroom in a large pool of blood. She had stab wounds to her shoulder, neck, and chest. She died later at a local hospital. Larry Steenerson was found on the floor of his home office, also in a large pool of blood. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The medical examiner determined he had been stabbed 30 to 40 times.
Hohenwald made his first court appearance Tuesday afternoon. The judge set his bail at $700,000 if he abides by certain restrictions. Unconditional bail was set at $1.5 million.
Seiberlich fought back tears for most of her court appearance Tuesday morning. Her bail was set at $100,000 with conditions or $250,000 without conditions.
Her brother, Anthony Bowman, told the Star Tribune she had nothing to do with the killings.
Seiberlich’s boyfriend, Gabriel Schmidt, told the newspaper before the hearing that he was on the cell phone with her while she was under arrest Sunday night and sitting in the squad car. He said she told him Hohenwald had refused to tell her where they were going that night, and told her to stay in the car when they got to Steenersons’ home. He said Seiberlich often gave Hohenwald rides because he didn’t have a driver’s license.
Knife Lake Township is just north of Mora, and about 95 miles north of the Twin Cities.