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Charges won't be dismissed in Renville County farmsite death

Doucette DOUCETTE, RUSSEL ALLEN REnville County MN custody mug

OLIVIA — A Franklin man has lost his bid to have manslaughter and vehicular homicide charges against him dismissed.

Russel Allen Doucette, 38, faces three felony counts in the July 2017 death of Randy Lee Oletzke, 59, of Franklin. A jury trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 12 on one charge of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of criminal vehicular homicide.

Doucette is accused of running over Oletzke at the farmsite where both of them lived and waiting 24 hours to report the death.

In an order filed last week in Renville County District Court, District Judge Dwayne Knutsen addressed several prosecution and defense motions. He denied a defense motion for dismissal and granted a prosecution motion to sequester witnesses during the trial.

Knutsen reserved some other decisions for trial, including whether evidence of alleged drug possession by Doucette would be allowed and whether a charge of careless driving may be submitted to the jury.

Another issue was an effort to suppress testimony that the victim's body was allegedly moved. Knutsen offered a split decision. He wrote that witnesses may testify about factual observations but were not to offer an opinion on whether the body was moved.

The criminal complaint describes a sequence of events that began the evening of July 27 at a farm site southeast of Franklin where Doucette and Oletzke both reportedly lived.

Sometime that evening, Doucette was trying to drive his truck out of the farmyard, and Oletzke allegedly tried to stop him.

According to court documents, Doucette allegedly told authorities that Oletzke was standing in front of the truck. He allegedly looped around the yard in his vehicle, and at a speed estimated at 70 to 75 miles per hour, he fishtailed and left, going to a neighbor's to consume alcohol until he threw up.

He later allegedly told law enforcement authorities that he was "pretty sure" he ran over Oletzke, he kept driving and went to a friend's place to go drinking.

The next evening, Doucette called the Renville County Sheriff's Office, and deputies arrived at the farm site to find Oletzke's body.

According to court records, an autopsy determined Oletzke had suffered severe head injuries and a broken right femur consistent with being hit by a vehicle. Evidence at the scene also suggested the body may have been moved and placed with the victim's head lying within previous tire tracks from a mobile home.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

(320) 214-4340