- Associated Press - Saturday, February 14, 2015

CLOQUET, Minn. (AP) - A jury in Carlton County has found a man not guilty of conspiring with his ex-wife to kill her current husband.

Prosecutors said John Edwin Bemis III planned with his former wife, Marie Margaret Majerle, to kill her estranged husband in January 2013. Majerle admitted she shot and wounded Richard Majerle, who survived.

A jury late Friday found Bemis not guilty of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, aiding and abetting attempted first-degree murder and aiding and abetting first-degree assault.

Defense attorney Joseph Tamburino said Bemis’ testimony helped toward his acquittal.

“He’s extremely believable. He has no criminal history. He’s an Army veteran, active duty,” Tamburino said Saturday. Bemis testified that he had no idea his ex-wife wanted to kill her estranged husband and that he first learned of the incident when a detective called him the following day.

Tamburino said he was troubled that Bemis was charged and brought to trial, yet the gun used to shoot Majerle was never tested for fingerprints or DNA.

“If you prosecute someone for such a serious crime, you better do your homework and get the evidence,” Tamburino said.

Marie Majerle admitted to shooting Richard Majerle in the chest at his home in Cloquet on Jan. 6, 2013. An attempted murder charge was dropped by prosecutors in return for her guilty plea to first-degree assault and her testimony against Bemis.

Tamburino said Majerle’s testimony was also a factor in the acquittal.

“She was not believable. She had a record. There were just so many things wrong with her story, so many inconsistencies,” he said.

Carlton County Attorney Thomas Pertler did not return a call to his office for comment Saturday.

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