By Ryan Gueningsman
Indictments were unsealed Thursday afternoon in Wright County District Court finding that a grand jury determined first degree murder charges were appropriate for the suspects in the death of Ruth Ann Ouverson.
Suspects Jeremy Dewayne Brooks, 27, and Coty Danos Martinez, 28, of Louisiana, have both been in custody at the Wright County Jail for the death of Ouverson, 58, who lived north of Montrose in Marysville Township, and was found dead in her home Aug. 4.
The cause of Ouverson’s death was also released at the indictment, which said she died from strangulation with a cord from a fan in her bedroom. Wright County Attorney Tom Kelly said there was also evidence of head trauma caused by fists.
“There were so many rumors out there,” he said, adding he hopes this will now dispel them.
Kelly commenced a grand jury in an effort to indict Brooks on the charge of first degree murder.
“In the State of Minnesota, I couldn’t do that by myself,” Kelly said. “The most I can do is charge second degree intentional murder. In order to prosecute murder one, it has to be by way of indictment, and to get an indictment, you need to convene a grand jury.”
Brooks was indicted with one count of first degree murder pre-meditation, one count of first degree murder while committing a burglary, and one count of second degree intentional murder, Kelly said.
Martinez was indicted with aiding and abetting Brooks on the same offenses.
Kelly explained that first degree murder charges pre-meditation requires a planned intent to kill. Murder in the first degree while committing a burglary requires the same intent to kill, but in this count, pre-meditation is not necessary to be proven.
He said the charge of second degree intentional murder needs to prove there was intent to kill, but there does not have to be proof of pre-meditation.
“People can take any given scenario and have a number of different crimes that come out from the same set of facts,” Kelly said.
Both Brooks and Martinez will appear again in court Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 9 a.m. This will be a first hearing on the complaint, Kelly said.
Kelly’s original bail requests of $1 million dollars for Brooks and $500,000 for Martinez were granted by the judge.
Kelly said he views them as flight risks, and also noted the fact they are wanted on other homicide charges in Louisville, Ky., and in Slidell, La. on attempted murder and armed robbery charges.
The court process for Brooks and Martinez could take anywhere from six to nine months, Kelly said, or possibly even longer.