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Woman who pulled gun during interview with cops pleads to child endangerment

GRANITE FALLS — A woman who pulled a revolver from under a sofa and attempted suicide while being interviewed by law officers pleaded guilty to child endangerment for the incident.

Kelly Anderson-Person, 34, of Hendricks, formerly of Clarkfield, pleaded guilty to the gross misdemeanor offense at a hearing Tuesday in Yellow Medicine County District Court in Granite Falls.

District Judge Dwayne Knutsen deferred acceptance of the plea and ordered a pre-sentence investigation.

Anderson-Person could face a year in jail on the charge, but the Yellow Medicine County case may be only a prelude to bigger legal issues for her.

Her attorney, Daniel Mohs of Spicer, asked the judge to delay sentencing. He said that an investigation in Lincoln County involving the defendant is coming to a head.

Authorities are investigating the November 2012 discovery of the remains of two infants — a boy and girl — in a grove of trees on Anderson family property near Fish Lake in Deuel County, S.D.

The bodies were wrapped in towels, a South Dakota State University T-shirt and placed in a red and white Coleman cooler.

The cause of death could not be determined because the bodies were badly decomposed. South Dakota officials have investigated the deaths as homicides.

Court documents detail that Anderson-Person told officers that she had given birth to two infants in 2009 and 2011 while living in Hendricks in Lincoln County and had disposed of the bodies.

She provided that information to two officers from South Dakota who came to her home in Clarkfield on Aug. 13, 2013. Anderson-Person was seated on a sofa with her then 9-month-old daughter on her lap when she suddenly pulled a .38-caliber revolver from under a cushion.

“I tried to commit suicide. I tried to shoot myself in the head,’’ said Anderson-Person in testimony in court on Tuesday.

Anderson-Person testified that the officers tackled her “immediately’’ and that the gun discharged into the ceiling.

In response to questions from Judge Knutsen, Anderson-Person acknowledged that putting the loaded gun under the sofa and attempting suicide with it put her child at risk.

Her attorney pointed out that she could be found guilty for “reckless” behavior, even though she had not intended to put her child at risk.

Anderson-Person was committed to in-patient mental health care after the incident. She is taking medicine for anxiety and depression, she told the court.

She also acknowledged in court that she had violated conditions of her release. Stacy Vinberg, Yellow Medicine County assistant attorney, told the judge during Tuesday’s hearing that Anderson-Person was not to have any contact, direct or indirect, with her daughter, now just over a year old.

Anderson-Person acknowledged that she sent a book as a gift to her child. She also sent a Facebook message to her husband, the child’s father, asking him to tell the child she loved her.

Her attorney told the court that Anderson-Person has been under a lot of emotional strain, and may not have fully understood the conditions that prohibited contact of any type with the child, even via a third party.

Her husband has filed for divorce and has custody of the child.

The judge said he would not revoke Anderson-Person’s bail due to the violation, but warned her that any subsequent violation “could have a very large effect on the way you are sentenced.’’

Tom Cherveny

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

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