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Man gets 66 years in slaying of Mahnomen couple

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MAHNOMEN, Minn. - The man who shot and killed an elderly Mahnomen couple in September heard some heart-wrenching testimonials by the victims' family members at his sentencing hearing Wednesday before learning he will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

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Mahnomen County District Judge Tamara Yon sentenced 53-year-old Timothy James Thorson to 66 years in prison.

Thorson pleaded guilty to killing Francis Lundon, 72, and Ethyl Lundon, 71, on Oct. 7, just days after he committed a crime that he admitted was wrong and cold-blooded.

More than 30 family members filled the courtroom Wednesday afternoon, some sobbing as they heard relatives speak about how the tragic event shook the entire family tree.

"I personally wish you had to die the way Frank and Ethyl did; violently and without mercy," said Brenda Lundon, one of the couple's nieces.

The victims' daughters, Mary Kramer and Paula Larson, said they hope Thorson wakes up every morning fearful. They want him to experience the terror their parents experienced just seconds before they were shot.

"You've torn our lives apart," Kramer said.

Family members who were once patient have become impatient, Brenda Lundon said. Some have become distrustful, insecure and disoriented.

"And many of them have downright hatred for you in their hearts," she told Thorson.

Francis Lundon operated a water-well drilling business with his brother Bill for many years in the small community of Mahnomen.

The family described him as a fun, loving brother, father and grandfather, a gunsmith who enjoyed hunting.

He and his wife, Ethyl, were good listeners and story-tellers who were always there for their large family to support and comfort them, Brenda Lundon said.

The sentencing hearing came less than two months after Thorson was charged with two counts of second-degree murder, one count of first-degree burglary and a felony count of theft of a motor vehicle.

Thorson told authorities he went to the Lundons' home under the impression that a drug dealer was living there. He planned to kill the drug dealer then have "a shoot out" with police or commit suicide, according to court documents.

But Brenda Lundon said Wednesday the family believes Thorson was planning the crime days before it happened because some of the neighbors saw him checking out the area.

"No one could've believed that such a cold and violent crime could've been committed in our little area of the world," she said.

Judge Yon said her sentence was not a departure; it's on the top end of the guidelines based on the facts of the case.

Mahnomen County Attorney Julie Bruggeman asked that Thorson pay restitution of $14,794.90 after the state files for the affidavit within 30 days. He was also ordered to pay $285 in court fines and fees.

Each count of second-degree murder will send Thorson to prison for 367 months consecutively. The burglary charge adds 58 months and the theft of motor vehicle gave him 21 months that he will serve concurrently. He will be credited for the time he's already served.

Thorson may serve two-thirds of his sentence in prison if he incurs no infractions while incarcerated. The remaining one-third of the sentence would then be served on supervised release.

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