Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Dec. 25, 2000

Two more charged in Pool murder case

By Gail Lipe

A McLeod County grand jury indicted Salem Mathew Bernhardt, 24, and his brother, Scott Randolf Bernhardt, 20, on Dec. 4 in connection with the kidnapping and murder of Randy Pool in July 1999.

Salem Bernhardt is charged with five felony charges: first-degree murder - premeditated, first-degree murder - intentional while kidnapping, second-degree murder - intentional, kidnapping and third-degree assault.

Scott Bernhardt is charged with two felony charges: kidnapping and third degree assault.

Pool's body was discovered in the Clearwater River on July 28, 1999. He was held against his will and repeatedly beaten and tortured in his home in Hutchinson for approximately three days before his death.

A complaint was filed against Scott Bernhardt in McLeod County District Court on Nov. 3 charging him with second-degree murder and kidnapping, which Mike Junge, McLeod County attorney, said is scheduled for an omnibus hearing on Dec. 29.

The complaint stated that testimony given by Tina Artmann and Isaac Engstrom in the trial of a previously convicted defendant in the case placed Scott Bernhardt at Pool's home on July 19 or 20. It also stated that Bernhardt inflicted physical harm to Pool by hitting him.

The affiant believed that Scott Bernhardt participated in the kidnapping and injury of Pool, and that it was reasonable to foresee that Pool would be killed as a result.

Scott Bernhardt is being held in the McLeod County jail. At a Nov. 13 hearing, the court requested $150,000 bail, requested any address change be given to the court and required Bernhardt not to leave the state.

Junge said the complaint was filed before the Grand Jury issued its indictment. The complaint alerted Scott Bernhardt that he was being investigated. It also gave Bernhardt the opportunity to cooperate if he wanted to, Junge said.

The complaint will most likely be dismissed in light of the grand jury indictment, Junge said. He said the grand jury indictment establishes probable cause.

Salem Bernhardt has been taken into custody in Indiana and is awaiting extradition to Minnesota. Junge said he expects Salem Bernhardt to be in McLeod County within two weeks.

Each of the five charges against Salem Bernhardt carry different penalties. The first-degree murder charges both carry a maximum penalty of life in prison. The second-degree murder charge carries a maximum of 40 years in prison.

The maximum penalty for the kidnapping charge is 40 years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine, and the maximum penalty for the third-degree assault charge is five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

Scott Bernhardt could spend up to 40 years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine for the kidnapping charge, and up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine for the third-degree assault charge.

Junge said these may be the last people to be charged in the Pool murder case, but with an investigation like that he could not say for sure.

Six defendants have previously been sentenced in the case; Shawn Allen McCollum, 26, Heather Lynn Ecklund, 20, Isaac Leroy Engstrom, 22, Tanya Ann Caldwell, 24, Patrick Ligenza, 21, and Toby Earl Johnson, 18.

Mary Alice Artmann, 18, of Silver Lake, is awaiting trial on charges of a serious felony of aiding and abetting kidnapping-causing great bodily harm in connection with Pool's death. She is being tried in extended juvenile jurisdiction in Hastings beginning Jan. 29, 2001, which means she will be tried as both an adult and as a juvenile.

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