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News Willmar,Minnesota 56201 http://www.wctrib.com/sites/all/themes/wctrib_theme/images/social_default_image.png
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Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

Morton man dies in accident

NICOLLET -- A 24-year-old Morton man was killed and two others were injured in a weekend accident in Nicollet County.

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According to the State Patrol, Shawn Gewerth was a passenger in a 1996 GEO Prizm that struck a semi shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday at the intersection of state Highway 99 and U.S. Highway 14.

A second passenger, Jacob Meyers, 22, of Morgan, was also hospitalized.

Shane Kramer, 28, of Redwood Falls, was the driver of the car that was going south on Highway 99 when it struck the side of a 2010 Freightliner semi that was going west on Highway 14.

Kramer was in critical condition at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.

None of the men in the car was wearing seatbelts.

The driver of the semi, Daniel Moldenhauer, 24, of La Crosse, Wis., was not injured. Moldenhauer was wearing a seat belt, according to the State Patrol.

Man arrested in sexual assault

WILLMAR -- A 27-year-old Willmar man was arrested early Sunday morning pending charges that he raped a woman.

According to the preliminary report, police received a call at 2:58 am Sunday that a 21-year-old woman had been sexually assaulted in the 1500 block of 15th Street Southeast. A suspect was arrested but has not been formally charged.

Vandalism

WILLMAR -- West Central Sanitation, 4089 Abbot Drive S.E., reported damage over the weekend in an attempted burglary.

The shop door to the business was damaged sometime between Saturday night and Monday morning in an apparent attempt to gain access to the building.

Theft

ATWATER -- Tackle, a fishing rod and handheld GPS unit were reported stolen from a fish house that was on Lake Ella in Lake Elizabeth Township. The door to the house was also damaged. The incident was reported Monday morning but occurred sometime after Saturday night.

District Court

Kandiyohi County

- A Willmar man was sentenced to nearly six years in prison Monday for criminal sexual conduct with an underage girl.

Jon Daniel Leuze, 31, was ordered by Judge Michael J. Thompson to serve 71 months at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud, with credit for 276 days already served in the Kandiyohi County Jail. Leuze also must register as a predatory sexual offender.

He had pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony. According to court records, he had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl that lasted from January through May of 2009. The girl, now 16, became pregnant and later miscarried.

Leuze will be serving a concurrent 19-month prison sentence on a felony charge of fifth-degree drug possession. Execution was previously stayed for his sentence on the drug charge.

He was arrested last May after a neighbor complained of a loud party in the 1400 block of Lakeland Drive Northeast. Willmar Police officers arrived and found Leuze sitting in his pickup truck outside the mobile home. A search of the vehicle revealed a plastic bag containing a white substance that later tested positive for methamphetamine. Leuze had two prior convictions for controlled-substance charges, according to court records.

- Jennifer Courtney Weilage, 29, of Willmar was released on her own recognizance Monday after appearing in court on charges of felony assault, domestic fifth-degree assault and fifth-degree assault.

The victim, her boyfriend, reported to Willmar Police early Sunday morning that he had been assaulted at the apartment they shared on Seventh Street Northwest.

According to court records, Weilage slapped him repeatedly and choked him with her arms around his neck until he lost consciousness. When he came to, he found himself lying on the floor. Weilage allegedly continued to hit and push him, shoving him into the kitchen stove and banging his head on a cabinet door.

The victim sustained a black eye and had red marks around his throat and blood around his collar, on his arms and on his chest, according to the police report.

Weilage was arrested Sunday morning and taken to the Kandiyohi County Jail. After appearing in court Monday, Judge David Mennis set a $15,000 unconditional bond and ordered her to report immediately to probation. She also was ordered to have no contact with the victim and to stay away from their apartment.

A Rule 8 hearing is scheduled for March 15.

- Robin Marie Picotte, 29, of Murdock was ordered Monday to serve one year and one day in the Minnesota women's prison in Shakopee on a felony drug charge.

Judge Michael Thompson found probable cause that Picotte violated the previous terms of her release on a charge of fifth-degree drug possession. According to court records, Picotte failed twice last June to report for drug testing, and also didn't show up for two appointments with her probation officer. Her whereabouts were unknown, and the cell phone number she provided at her arraignment was out of service. A warrant was issued for her arrest and she was taken into custody Jan. 18.

The drug charge stems from a traffic stop in June of 2008. A search of Picotte's vehicle turned up marijuana and methamphetamine, as well as clonazepam, a controlled drug for which Picotte did not have a prescription.

Picotte was originally charged with two counts of fifth-degree felony drug possession. One of the charges was later dismissed and she was convicted in 2008 on the other count.

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