Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, June 19, 2000

Last defendant in Pool murder sentenced

By Gail Lipe

Isaac Leroy Engstrom, 22, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his part in the murder of Randy Pool last summer. He previously pleaded guilty to second degree intentional murder.

Judge Terrence Conkel said according to the pre-sentence investigation that was conducted by the Minnesota Department of Correction, there was no indication in his early life that Engstrom could do something like murder.

He said the report indicated that when Engstrom was young he was given the love, care and attention that a child needed. Engstrom was a good student and was active in sports.

Then Engstrom allowed himself to get involved in drugs, and in the drug culture.

"I believe you when you say drugs took over your life," said Conkel. But, he said, that does not justify Engstrom's participation in the murder of Pool.

"If I was you, I would dedicate my life to helping others," said Conkel.

Conkel sentenced Engstrom to 30 years in prison. The final 10 years may be served under supervised release if Engstrom does not violate the rules while he is in prison.

Engstrom also will have to share the restitution, which has not been determined yet.

Before Engstrom was sentenced, Connie Pool, the victim's sister, addressed the court. She said she had previous ties to the Engstrom family and had known Engstrom.

She said her knowledge of him makes it hard to know he could participate in the murder of her brother.

She also said she feels the loss of her brother for her mother, as well as for herself. "I also am a mom, and I cannot imagine the pain my mom is going through," she said.

She asked the court to give the greatest possible sentence to Engstrom.

Mike Junge, McLeod County attorney, said the case had been a tragedy since July 18 of last year. He said any amount of a sentence would never be enough.

He recommended to the court to impose a 30-year prison sentence because Engstrom had come forward to give information, and Junge said he appears to have a conscience.

The Pool family received an apology from Engstrom's parents, as well as Engstrom.

"I would not blame them (the Pool family) for not forgiving me," said Engstrom. "I think about it every day, and I know he (Pool) did not deserve it."

Engstrom said he lost himself to drugs, and has now turned his life over to God.

He is the last of six defendants to be sentenced in the kidnapping and murder of Randy Pool. Pool was found in a duffel bag on July 28 in the Clearwater River in Wright County.

Tanya Ann Caldwell, 24, and Richard Patrick Ligenza, 21, pleaded guilty to kidnapping Pool. Caldwell was sentenced to four years in prison, and Ligenza was sentenced to three years in prison.

Heather Lynn Ecklund, 20, was sentenced in early June to 36 years in prison, Toby Earl Johnson, 18, was sentenced in May to life in prison and Shawn Allen McCollum, 26, was sentenced in April to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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