WILLMAR - Caleb Aaron Blue said he killed David Medellin Jr. "for no good reason," stabbing him Oct. 25 in the field outside of Willmar where his body was later found.
With that testimony, Blue, 35, of Willmar, pleaded guilty Friday to first-degree premeditated murder with a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole for the death of the 24-year-old Medellin, also of Willmar.
In exchange for the plea, all of the charges against Blue's girlfriend, Lori Jean Harris Gafkjen, 51, of Brooten, will be dismissed at the time of his sentencing. She is charged with three felony counts of aiding an offender. Two of the charges allege that she was an accomplice after the fact, and another alleges she helped Blue to avoid arrest.
District Judge Melissa Listug deferred acceptance of Blue's plea until sentencing, which is scheduled for March 28 in District Court in Kandiyohi County.
Blue, also known as Caleb Aaron Jorgenson, insisted Friday morning during an evidentiary hearing on offering the plea agreement to spare his girlfriend, despite being urged not to do so by his defense attorney Bradley Kluver. The court reconvened at the end of the day Friday to accept the plea.
Blue testified that on the night of Oct. 25, he intentionally drove Medellin and a 17-year-old male to the site east of Willmar near what he called "Stoner's Bridge." He said that he and Medellin had been smoking weed and arguing. Blue said he wanted to physically harm an individual they knew, and Medellin was opposed to it.
He thrust a knife into Medellin's throat, and Medellin told him: "I won't say anything, Caleb, please," according to Blue's testimony. Blue said he did not respond verbally to the plea and instead chased Medellin, who began running across a muddy field.
"I stabbed him, repeatedly,'' Blue said. In response to questioning by Assistant County Attorney Kristen Pierce, Blue said that he drove Medellin to the remote site with the intention of killing him. He had brought the knife along, which he said he purchased at a Wal-Mart, for that purpose as well, he said.
He wore gloves to keep fingerprints off the knife and blood off his hands, but he cut his own hand while repeatedly thrusting the knife, according to his testimony.
Blue said the 17-year-old male who was accompanying him was fearful that he would be killed. Blue said he assured the youth that he would not kill him. He said he made him put his fingerprints on the knife and they buried it.
Shortly before the testimony, the mother of David Medellin, Yosenia Alonzo, and the victim's sister, Olivia, read a statement to the court. They told Blue that he took a brother, uncle, friend and loved one from them, as well as a father. Medellin's fiance is expecting their child in March.
"He did not deserve the way you took his life,'' the family stated. "You are a coward for what you did."
The family does not feel the life sentence without parole is adequate justice for their loss and pain. The family also does not feel it is right that Gafkjen could be "walking free without consequences" as a result of the plea agreement, according to the statement.
The family also wanted the court to know that Medellin and Blue were not friends.
Gafkjen, formerly known as Lori Jean Glesne, is alleged to have brought Blue to the Glacial Ridge Hospital in Glenwood after the stabbing to have his wounded hand treated there, rather than at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar. The two also spent subsequent days together at a hotel in Paynesville and later in Ham Lake, where he was taken into custody Nov. 5.
During a court hearing Thursday in Gafkjen's case, Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Kent Bauman testified there was no indication that Gafkjen was at the scene of the death.
Blue testified Friday that he drove Medellin and the 17-year-old to the farm field on Oct. 25 in a Cadillac Seville that is registered to Gafkjen but was his to drive. Special agents with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension intercepted Blue before he reached the vehicle on Nov. 5 after he slipped out of a window at a motel in Ham Lake.
Gafkjen and Blue met while she served as a corrections officer in the Kandiyohi County Jail and he was an inmate there.
In testimony Friday morning, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension special agents Dustin Van Der Hagen, formerly a Willmar police officer, and James Ryerson told the court about how they arrested and interviewed Blue on Nov. 5. Both said they knew him from prior contacts and that he had a criminal history for previous assaults.