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Renville County jail inmate offers $10,000 to have witness killed, complaint alleges

Ron Anderson

OLIVIA — A defendant being held in the Renville County Jail on an out-of-county burglary charge is accused of offering $10,000 to a man to kill a witness in his case and physically harm her mother.

To prove how serious he was about the offer, the defendant signed over to the individual three valuable rings belonging to him but held by the jail, authorities say.

Those are among the allegations contained in a criminal complaint filed by Renville County on Dec. 27 against the defendant, Ronald James Anderson, 47, of Echo.

Anderson made his first appearance Monday afternoon in Renville County District Court on charges of conspiracy to commit murder – first degree; tampering with a witness – aggravated – first degree; and assault in the first degree.

District Judge Dwayne Knutsen ordered bail set at $500,000 unconditional, and $250,000 with conditions, according to Renville County Assistant Attorney Laurence Stratton.

Anderson could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the conspiracy to commit murder charge.

The complaint states that Anderson was held in the Renville County Jail on a burglary charge filed by Redwood County. On Dec. 23, he approached a person described in the complaint as a cooperating individual and said he wanted to hire someone to assault and/or murder a witness against him.

He initially suggested that the individual harm the witness’s mother: “ … black her eyes, bust her jaw, let her know if your daughter testifies, I’m gonna bug ya.’’

The individual was fitted with a concealed electronic recording device. During a second meeting that day, Anderson allegedly offered $10,000 to the individual to kill the witness. “Bury that (expletive),’’ the complaint alleges he stated after offering the sum. Anderson repeatedly assures the individual that he is serious, according to the complaint.

The complaint alleges that after the individual agrees to harm the witness, Anderson uses a phone in the jail and tells a female “that there is a 100 percent chance that the burglary case is now going to go in his favor.’’

The individual met with Anderson again on Dec. 24. The cooperating individual again wore a concealed electronic recording device. The complaint alleges that during this meeting Anderson offered a $1,500 Black Hills gold ring, a silver ring, and a Hell’s Angels skull ring as proof of his willingness to pay for the service.

During this meeting he also drew a map and described the home where the witness lives, and advised the individual to avoid a nearby residence of a sheriff’s deputy.

The complaint alleges that Anderson also told the individual to contact a person identified by her first name after he completed the deed. She would provide the money to him, the complaint alleges.

Shortly afterward, a corrections officer in the Renville County Jail presented a property release form that had been signed by the defendant. It authorized the release of the three rings to the individual believed to have been hired to commit the murder.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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