Bail reduced for woman charged as accomplice in stabbing death of Willmar man
WILLMAR — Bail was reduced Friday for a woman charged as an accomplice in the stabbing death of a 24-year-old Willmar man.
Lori Jean Harris Gafkjen, 51, of Brooten, can be released on $100,000 unconditionally or $50,000 with conditions that include electronic home monitoring.
A motion to lower the bail amount was granted during an appearance Friday morning before Judge Dwayne Knutsen in Kandiyohi County District Court. Gafkjen had been held on $500,000 bail at the Renville County Jail since her first court appearance Nov. 8. She was still in jail as of Friday afternoon.
She is charged with three counts of aiding an offender in connection with the homicide of David Medellin Jr., whose body was found Oct. 31 in a muddy farm field east of Willmar. Caleb Aaron Blue, 35, of Willmar, has been charged with second-degree murder in the victim's death.
Gafkjen's attorney, John Mack, filed a motion this week seeking a reduction in the bail amount or, alternately, to allow Gafkjen to be released on her own recognizance.
Mack said in his motion that his client "is only charged as an accomplice after the fact" and poses minimal danger to the public. She has ties to the community and no criminal history, he said.
Mack also argued that the case against her is based mainly on the fact that she took Blue to the hospital in Glenwood for medical treatment after he allegedly chased and stabbed the victim and left his body in the field. There was no indication she knew he was a suspect in a murder case, he said.
Gafkjen entered a plea of not guilty Friday to each of the three charges against her. Pursuant to a motion from the state granted by the judge, she also must supply a DNA sample.
She was originally scheduled to appear in court Wednesday but the hearing was rescheduled to mid-December, then rescheduled yet again to Friday morning.
According to the criminal complaint, Blue is alleged to have called Gafkjen after Medellin's death and had her drive him to Glenwood for treatment of a cut on his hand. The two were arrested Nov. 5 at a motel in Anoka County.
Blue and Gafkjen allegedly became acquainted at the Kandiyohi County Jail, where she was working as a correctional officer and he was incarcerated.