Herald and Journal, Oct. 11, 1999

6 defendants indicted for kidnapping and murder

By Gail Lipe

A McLeod County grand jury, which convened to consider the complaints filed against six people in the death of Randy M. Pool, indicted four out of the six defendants for first-degree murder on Sept. 22.

The four, Shawn Allen McCollum, 26, Heather Lynn Ecklund, 20, Isaac Leroy Engstrom, 22, and Toby Early Johnson, 18, also were indicted for second-degree murder and kidnapping.

Richard Patrick Ligenza, 21, and Tanya Ann Caldwell, 24, were indicted on kidnapping charges.

Pool's body was found in a duffel bag on July 28 in the Clearwater River in Wright County. The defendants allegedly held Pool against his will in his Hutchinson home around July 18 to July 21, according to court records.

During that time, Pool was allegedly bound by duct tape and plastic ties and repeatedly beaten.

The court complaints against the defendants allege that Pool was initially detained by Ligenza and McCollum. It stated Caldwell provided the duct tape and other items used to inflict pain to Pool.

According to court records, Pool was beaten for up to three days before he was placed in the duffel bag. The complaints allege that McCollum, Ecklund and Engstrom apparently did much of the beating.

The complaint alleges Johnson struck Pool at least three times and was present when Pool was put into the duffel bag. He also drove Pool's car, and hid it in a barn in Meeker County.

Ligenza allegedly kicked Pool in the head at one point to prevent Pool from falling asleep.

The court complaint states that McCollum stomped on the duffel bag after Pool was put inside. He then sprayed an aerosol into the bag. Engstrom and McCollum allegedly took the bag to a car, driven by Ecklund, and threw it off a bridge into the Clearwater River.

The Wright County medical examiner said Pool died of asphyxiation and had several fractures and multiple bruises.

Hearings were held for Johnson, Ligenza, McCollum and Engstrom on Friday. Bail was reduced to $300,000 for Ligenza, while it remained at $800,000 for Johnson and $900,000 for Engstrom.

McCollum's attorney, Anthony Nerud, requested a reduction in bail and asked for an order for McCollum to be able to continue medical attention for a back injury. He said McCollum is suffering from a long-term workman's compensation related injury that is in need of ongoing medical attention.

McCollum recently received an MRI while he has been in custody. Nerud said the medical costs will be paid for by workman's compensation.

Nerud asked the bail be set at $25,000 so that McCollum would be able to reside at his parents' home in the Twin Cities to continue treatment.

The court left McCollum's bail at $1 million and said he would address an order for McCollum to see medical doctors and receive treatment as needed after he received a written motion, and after County Attorney Mike Junge is informed of the situation.

The next court appearance for Johnson, Ligenza, McCollum and Engstrom will be Oct. 29. The trial for Ligenza will begin on Nov. 30.

Ecklund appeared in court on Sept. 23. Her bail remained at $800,000, and her next hearing is scheduled for Oct. 11.

Caldwell will appear for a hearing on Oct. 7.

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