Former Montevideo, Minn., man will serve jail time, probation in cattle rustling case
MONTEVIDEO -- A former Montevideo man accused of rustling 26 Holstein steers will serve jail time and probation, and could face time in prison if he violates his probation.
Richard Kenneth Nelson, 41, now of Pine City, was sentenced Tuesday in Montevideo on separate felony convictions for receiving stolen property in Lac qui Parle and Chippewa counties. As part of an earlier agreement, the sentences for each are to be served concurrently, or at the same time.
The court sentenced Nelson to one year and one day in prison, but stayed execution of the prison term. He must serve 90 days in jail and five years of probation, pay a fine of $500 and make restitution, according to the Lac qui Parle County and Chippewa County attorney's offices.
The restitution in Lac qui Parle County is $4,287.96 and in Chippewa County it is $2,349.74.
District Judge Paul Nelson sentenced Richard Nelson based on sentencing guidelines that do not call for prison time for a first-time offender. The judge warned Nelson that he now has two felony convictions and that any subsequent offense could bring prison time.
Nelson pleaded guilty April 5 to the separate charges.
In the Lac qui Parle County case, he admitted that he knew or should have known that the cattle -- each weighing between 1,200 to 1,500 pounds -- were stolen when he transported them away from a rural feedlot in the county on the night of Jan. 28. He testified that another man who accompanied him loaded the cattle and offered him $5,000 to transport and sell them.
Nelson accepted checks written to his business Get Ur Done Trucking for 12 steers he delivered to the sales barn in Benson, and 11 to the sales barn in Pipestone, according to the court record. The cattle had an estimated value of more than $40,000.
The checks issued to Nelson were seized and the proceeds of the sale provided to the victim. The victim will receive restitution for the difference between the amount paid for the cattle and their value had they been sold when they had reached their premium weight.
The Chippewa County charge was filed after law officers executed a search warrant at Nelson's property north of Montevideo as part of the investigation into the stolen cattle. They seized items that had been reported stolen.
Nelson admitted that he had reason to believe the items were stolen, but testified that he purchased them from others. They included a John Deere Gator, Bobcat skid loader, John Deere Z Track pro lawn mower, and a four-place snowmobile trailer.
Charges are not expected against the two men that Nelson has accused of being involved in the cattle incident. Any action would rely on Nelson's accusations. The court cannot rely on the testimony of a co-conspirator to bring a guilty verdict, it was noted during the court proceeding Tuesday.