Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Dec. 20, 1999

Pool murder trial set to begin in January

By Gail Lipe

The first trial involving defendants in the kidnapping and murder of Randy M. Pool has been rescheduled to begin on Jan. 4, providing a settlement is not reached at the settlement conference on Dec. 21.

Richard Patrick Ligenza, 21, will appear for trial on a grand jury indictment of kidnapping in the murder of Pool.

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 trial for Ligenza was originally scheduled to begin on Dec. 1, but was delayed because his attorney, Anthony Torres, is involved in a different murder trial in Hennepin County. Jury selection will begin Jan. 4.

There were six people indicted on charges related to Pool's death. Tanya Caldwell, 24, Silver Lake, pleaded guilty to one felony count of kidnapping on Nov. 9.

Hearings are set for Shawn Allen McCollum, 26, and Isaac Leroy Engstrom, 22, Friday morning, with trials to begin in January. Both were indicted for first-degree murder, second-degree murder and kidnapping.

Heather Lynn Ecklund, 20, and Toby Earl Johnson, 18, also were indicted for first-degree murder, second-degree murder and kidnapping.

Ecklund requested a speedy trial, which moved her trial up from a March 14 starting date to Feb. 1. Her next hearing will be on Jan. 7.

Johnson has a hearing scheduled for March 9, with the trial to begin April 11.

McCollum's attorney, Anthony Nerud, is the only one to file a motion for a change of venue so far. A change of venue motion, if granted, would move the trial to another county. A trial also could be moved if the judge thinks it is not possible to find an impartial jury in McLeod County.


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