Man pleads to manslaughter in missing woman's death

   An Eagan man whose girlfriend’s body was found in a frozen river in April 2018 was sentenced to 15 years in prison Thursday, May 9, after he pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter.
   Under the terms of a plea agreement with the Dakota County Attorney’s office, second-degree murder charges against Uriah Schulz, 41, of 2044 Marble Lane, Eagan, were dismissed, according to court records.
   Schulz was arrested in September 2018 in connection with the death of his girlfriend, Elizabeth Perrault, 41. Perrault was last seen or heard from on Nov. 1, 2017. Her body, clothed in a bathrobe, was found by a fisherman near the I-35W bridge in Burnsville on April 22, 2018. According to the prosecution, Schulz, who had been living with Perrault,  admitted they had been fighting. He then blacked out and found her body when he awoke, according to the prosecution.
   Judge Tanya O’Brien sentenced Schulz to an additional 70 months under state sentencing guidelines because of the concealment of the victim’s body.
Uriah Schulz

Man charged in Burnsville fatal crash

   A Prior Lake man has been charged with criminal vehicular homicide in connection with a fatal single-car crash that killed his 20-year-old girlfriend last Memorial Day weekend.
   James Lapsley, 21, of 19165 Eagleview Lane, Prior Lake, has been charged with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide under alternate legal theories: gross negligence and negligence while under the influence of a controlled substance.
   The charges stem from a May 26, 2018, crash on I-35W in Burnsville at 7:30 a.m. that killed Lapsley’s friend, Kayli Thompson, a passenger who was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, according to the Dakota County criminal complaint. Thompson died at the scene of the crash.
   The two had been fishing in Prior Lake on the morning of the crash, according to the complaint.
   Investigators at the scene of the crash obtained a search warrant to obtain a blood sample from Lapsley, according to court records. The blood sample revealed THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in the driver’s blood, according to the complaint.
   A witness told investigators he saw the car that crashed operating erratically and speeding, according to the complaint. The witness reported the Ford Fusion nearly hit the median twice. The next time the witness saw the car, it was in a ditch, the criminal complaint said.
   Investigators allege the car had been travelling 91 miles per hour a mile north of the crash. It was travelling 83 miles per hour when it hit a noise barrier, according to the complaint.

Man charged with stalking 16-year-old girl

     A Cottage Grove man has been charged with stalking and domestic assault stemming from a series of events during which he allegedly followed a 16-year-old girl to her job at an Apple Valley restaurant after she refused a relationship with him.
   Edward Gallardo, 19, of 8212 Joliet Ave. S., Cottage Grove, was charged with three felonies: stalking, threats of violence, and domestic assault by strangulation, as well as two counts of gross misdemeanor stalking and three counts of misdemeanor domestic assault, according to a Dakota County criminal complaint.
   Apple Valley police, concerned Gallardo would not respond to a summons to appear in court on the charges, requested the court issue a nationwide arrest warrant and set bail at $100,000. Gallardo was released on $60,000 bail following a court appearance on the charges, according to Dakota County court records.
   Apple Valley police were called to a local restaurant April 25 after customers reportedly saw a girl being assaulted and reported the episode to the manager, according to court records. Gallardo allegedly followed the victim to her workplace and tried to block her car in the parking lot. The victim tried to ignore him and walked into the restaurant. Gallardo then allegedly “wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly,” according to the complaint, saying he would release her if she agreed to speak with him.
   When the victim tried to break free, Gallardo allegedly “pushed her up against a brick wall,” according to the complaint. The teenage victim broke free and went back to her car. She was able to enter the building after Gallardo went back to his own vehicle.
   The teenage victim went to work in the back of the restaurant, coming out front briefly, until she saw Gallardo. Restaurant customers stepped in, according to court records, expressing concern to the manager about the girl’s welfare. The victim then called police.
   When police arrived, they noticed bruises in the shape of fingerprints on the girl’s arms. The victim told police Gallardo had become angry with her while driving her home the night before when she told him she did not want a romantic relationship with her, according to the complaint. Gallardo then changed route, stopped the car in an alley in South St. Paul, and demanded her cell phone. The victim told police she believed Gallardo, currently facing a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm in Washington County, keeps a gun in the glove compartment of his car.
   According to police, after the victim refused to give Gallardo her cell phone, he allegedly grabbed her by the neck with one hand until she had trouble breathing and became dizzy and grabbed her cell phone with his other hand.
   During the assault in the car, according to the complaint, the victim complied with Gallardo’s demands to speak to him in an effort to prevent further assault. “Throughout the conversation,” police alleged, Gallardo warned the victim to “’keep it cool’ or she would ‘end up in a ditch.’” Investigators allege Gallardo threatened to hire someone to kill the victim and hurt her family if she refused a relationship.  
   Police sought an arrest warrant, rather than issuing a summons for Gallardo to appear in court on a certain date, because Gallardo has no apparent permanent address. According to the complaint, investigators believe there are “significant lethality factors in this relationship and defendant will not respond to a summons.”  

Youth escapes alleged knife-wielding, meth-using bicycle thief 

   A Duluth woman is in the Dakota County jail following her arrest for allegedly trying to steal a bicycle from a child at knifepoint in South St. Paul.
   Katrina Wilson, 32, of 115 Fourth St., Duluth, was charged with two felonies: second-degree attempted aggravated robbery, and threats of violence, according to a Dakota County criminal complaint. Wilson was arrested at about 7:30 p.m. April 29 after South Saint Paul police were called to an area near 300 Grand Avenue West to investigate a report of a woman in the woods with a knife.
   When police arrived, bystanders reported a woman with a knife had run into the woods. Police entered the woods and found a woman hiding behind a tree. When police ordered her to show her hands, according to the criminal complaint, the woman instead ran down a hill. Police chased her on foot and ordered her to stop.
   The woman stopped, according to police, then put a box cutter to her throat and threatened to kill herself. Police threatened to “tase her” if she did not drop the knife, according to court records. The woman then threw down the knife and ran. Police caught her at the bottom of the hill.
   South St. Paul police then spoke with two children who reported the woman had pulled a knife on one of their friends and ordered the child to give her his bicycle. Their friend instead fled from the woman, according to court records. The victim corroborated the account to police.
   Wilson allegedly admitted to police she had taken the knife out of her pocket and tried to take the bike “because she was tired.” She also allegedly admitted to using methamphetamine that morning, according to the criminal complaint. Police found a bubble pipe at the time of her arrest.
Attempted robbery suspect Katrina Wilson

City of Boston picks Cassellius as superintendent

    Former state education commissioner Brenda Cassellius, a recent candidate in ISD 191’s superintendent search, will be the new school superintendent for the city of Boston.
    Cassellius, who served as education commissioner under former Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, was selected by the Boston school committee with a vote at its May 1 meeting. Until mid-April, Cassellius had been one of three finalists for the job of superintendent of Independent School District 191, the Burnsville-Savage-Eagan school district. She dropped out of contention for that post and became a finalist for the Boston job.
    The city of Boston has a long history of troubled schools, including racial tensions from federal court-ordered desegregation in the 1970s and what have been described as “bruised community relations” and current student achievement issues.
    Cassellius was also a finalist for state superintendent of Michigan schools.
    Cassellius was not considered for the post of school superintendent of ISD 196 last year, after former superintendent Jane Berenz suddenly announced her retirement. Instead of opening the search process to the community, as ISD 191 and other school districts did, the ISD 196 school board instead elevated the district’s director of special education, Mary Kreger, to the superintendent’s post without public interviews or discussion.
Michael Watson

Police catch car theft suspect on Lone Oak

   Eagan police arrested a Saint Paul Park man with a history of stealing cars after stopping him on Lone Oak Road driving another allegedly stolen vehicle.
   Michael Watson, 35, of 1424 Gary Drive, St. Paul Park, was charged with felony receiving stolen property and gross misdemeanor possession of firearm or ammunition by an ineligible person, according to a Dakota County criminal complaint.
   A police officer on patrol on Lone Oak Road April 26 spotted a vehicle without a front license plate, according to the complaint. The officer checked the back license plate and learned the vehicle had been reported stolen from Ramsey County.
   Police stopped the car and, according to the complaint, Watson allegedly admitted to stealing the vehicle with a screwdriver from a driveway in St. Paul. Police searched the vehicle and allegedly found cut off exhaust pieces and ammunition.
   Watson has five prior felony motor vehicle theft convictions, according to police.    

Appeals court reverses CDA decision

    The Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed a Dakota County Community Development Agency decision to terminate a woman’s housing benefits after she failed to report income from three part-time jobs.
   In an unpublished opinion April 29, the appeals court ruled the Dakota County agency failed to properly consider the woman’s request for a reasonable accommodation to file late reports regarding her income. The Dakota County CDA had terminated the woman’s Section 8 housing assistance, a program that pays government subsidies to private landlords, after ruling she had failed to report income from jobs at Carbone’s, Benihana’s and Blazin’ Wings restaurants, according to the court. The woman argued a mental health condition hindered her ability to comply with the welfare agency’s income-reporting requirements.