- Associated Press - Friday, May 23, 2014
Braham man indicted for courthouse threats

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A 45-year-old man faces a federal indictment for allegedly mailing threatening letters that forced the evacuation of the Pine County Courthouse late last year.

Johnnie Earl Long of Braham (bram) was charged Thursday with one count of false information and hoaxes and six counts of mailing threatening communications.

According to the indictment, Long allegedly mailed a series of threatening letters to officials at the courthouse. Although the letters contained a white powder that proved harmless, prosecutors say the letters suggested the powder contained a lethal pathogen.

Long is in custody. Online court records do not list a defense attorney.


California man charged in Minnesota woman’s death

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Minnesota woman who had struggled with addiction and moved to California last fall for work had emailed her grandmother in February, saying she was coming to visit her in Phoenix because she needed money.

But Jamie Lea Harmer never showed up.

Police found Harmer’s dismembered remains in plastic bags scattered along railroad tracks on April 27. On Tuesday, 28-year-old Christopher Marcus Brown was arrested in her death after authorities searched his apartment for 18 hours and found physical evidence related to Harmer’s killing. Brown, who lives in Riverside, California, was formally charged with murder Friday.

“We have a blessing in the fact that she was found. We will have her and we can put her to rest,” Olive Pinske, Harmer’s paternal grandmother, said Friday. “If we had to go the rest of our lives wondering, ‘Where’s Jamie? What happened to her?’ That would have been so difficult.”

Authorities had released few details by Friday afternoon, and they have not told family members how Harmer died, Pinske said. Police have described Harmer as a transient, and Pinske said Brown lived near a corner where her granddaughter hung out, but she doesn’t know if they knew each other.


Man charged with robbing armored truck guard

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Federal charges have been filed against a man accused of ambushing an armored truck guard filling an ATM inside a St. Paul gas station and fleeing with $70,000.

Christopher “Pooby” Ward was charged Wednesday with robbery in connection with the predawn stickup at a SuperAmerica on Jan. 14, 2011.

Police say Ward also made off with the guard’s gun.

Photographs from surveillance video showed the gunman, dressed in black, confronting the Dunbar Armored Inc. guard while the Wells Fargo ATM was open. The suspect grappled with the employee and pointed his gun at least twice.

The guard was unhurt. Police say a second Dunbar employee remained in the truck.


Complaint: Inmate strangled prisoner with shoelace

STILLWATER, Minn. (AP) - An inmate at a Minnesota maximum security prison is accused of strangling a fellow prisoner with a shoelace last December.

Washington County prosecutors have charged 40-year-old Benjamin Beck with second-degree murder in the death of 30-year-old Shane Cooper.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press (https://bit.ly/1lINrRi) reports Cooper and Beck were inmates at the Oak Park Heights prison when Cooper was found strangled in his cell.

According to the complaint, investigators found Beck’s identification card in Cooper’s room and used surveillance footage to verify Beck had entered the room before Cooper was killed.

Beck told investigators he had been Cooper’s “protector” at prison. But the complaint says when Beck discovered that Cooper was a convicted child rapist, he didn’t have “a way out” and killed him.

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