Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Feb. 7, 2000

Engstrom pleads guilty in Pool murder case

By Gail Lipe

The first of four defendants charged with murder in the Randy M. Pool murder case pleaded guilty to second degree murder on Friday.

Isaac Leroy Engstrom, 22, appeared in McLeod County District Court with his attorney Michael J. Colich to enter his plea. He was indicted for the first-degree murder, second-degree murder and kidnapping of Pool, along with Heather Lynn Ecklund, 20, Shawn Allen McCollum, 26, and Toby Earl Johnson, 18.

The first-degree murder and kidnapping charges have been dismissed, and Judge Terrence Conkel ordered a pre-sentence investigation before Engstrom is sentenced in May.

Authorities believe Pool was held, against his will, in his home in Hutchinson for approximately three days in July. His hands and feet were bound, and he was repeatedly beaten and tortured.

He was placed in a duffel bag, where he died of asphyxiation after an aerosol was sprayed into the bag. His body was thrown off a bridge into the Clearwater River, where it was discovered on July 28.

The original complaint against Engstrom said he allegedly provided the duffel bag, beat Pool with a curtain rod and assisted in dumping the body into the Clearwater River.

Engstrom's plea included his cooperation, and testifying if necessary, during the trials of the co-defendants.

A change of venue was granted for Ecklund and her trial began yesterday in Scott County. McCollum's next hearing is scheduled Friday, with the jury trial to begin March 14. Johnson's hearing is on March 24, with the jury trial set to begin April 11.

Two other defendants, Tanya Ann Caldwell, 24, and Richard Patrick Ligenza, 21, previously pleaded guilty to kidnapping Pool. Ligenza was sentenced to three years in prison, while Caldwell has yet to be sentenced.

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