WILLMAR - A Willmar man has been indicted for first-degree premeditated murder in the October death of David Medellin Jr. of Willmar.
The body of Medellin, 24, was found Oct. 31 in a plowed farm field east of Willmar. He had been missing for several days.
Caleb Aaron Blue, 35, of Willmar, also known as Caleb Aaron Jorgenson, was arrested a few days later.
He made his first appearance Wednesday morning in Kandiyohi County District Court on three charges included in the indictment. A Kandiyohi County grand jury returned the indictment Tuesday. Blue's next court hearing is at 9 a.m. Feb. 8.
In addition to the first-degree murder charge, he faces second-degree intentional murder and terroristic threats. First-degree murder has a presumptive sentence of life in prison; second-degree murder has a maximum sentence of 40 years.
The two murder charges are related to Medellin's death. The terroristic threats indictment indicates Blue threatened violence against a person identified only as E.S. That charge carries a maximum penalty of five years or a $10,000 fine.
Blue will remain in jail on $2 million bail. Defense lawyer Bradley Kluver of Litchfield said he had not been able to make bail and probably would not be able to do so. "I wouldn't even if I could," Blue commented.
During the hearing Wednesday, Judge Rodney Hanson asked Blue if he had had a chance to read the indictment. "I read it," Blue said.
Hanson explained Blue's rights. A defendant is presumed to be not guilty, and prosecutors must prove their case in court, Hanson said. Defendants do not have to testify, either, he added.
"You don't have to prove anything, so you don't have to say anything," he said.
Kluver said he plans during the Feb. 8 hearing to challenge a statement Blue made after his arrest. According to a motion he filed, Kluver said Blue's statement made to two Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agents violated his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Hanson asked Blue if he understood that the court needed to review self-incriminating statements he may have made.
"I do, but I made tons of self-incriminating statements," Blue said.
Medellin's body was found in the field Oct. 31, but he had not been seen by his family since Oct. 24. He was found with stab wounds in his back and to the back of his head.
Medellin's family mourned him as a good son and a young expectant father who had been in trouble when he was younger but was turning his life around.
According to court records, Blue and Medellin were allegedly seen on Jackpot Junction Casino surveillance video in the early morning hours of Oct. 25.
Blue allegedly told law enforcement that he drove Medellin back to Willmar and made him get out of the vehicle on a gravel road outside Willmar. According to the criminal complaint, Medellin ran away and Blue allegedly followed him into the field, stabbing Medellin in the back.
Blue allegedly waited until Medellin was dead and called Lori Jean Harris Gafkjen to pick him up, because he had car trouble. He asked her to take him to a doctor because he had cut her hand, and they went to Glenwood for medical care.
Gafkjen, 51, of Brooten, is charged with two counts of aiding an offender - an accomplice after the fact, and one count of aiding an offender to avoid arrest. All three charges are felonies. Her next court appearance is 9 a.m. Feb. 7.
Court records do not indicate a motive for the stabbing. Blue allegedly told Gafkjen that "it had to be done."