The upcoming trespassing trials for 33 frac sand opponents will start Monday at the Winona County Courthouse. Judge Mary C. Leahy was selected to preside over the cases, but has since recused herself from all of the 33 frac sand trespassing trials without citing a reason for her recusal.
Photo by Chris Rogers
Protesters from across the Midwest who temporarily blocked frac sand trucks in Winona last spring will now stand trial for trespassing. The protesters requested a jury trial. Judge Mary Leahy recused herself from the case.
The trials stem from an incident that occurred April 29, 2013 at the Winona Port, as well as Brannt-Valley Excavating, both sites in which the controversial commodity is handled. Initially, 35 people were arrested for trespassing when they blocked activity at the sites and subsequently refused to leave. The incident caused a temporary shutdown of business when the trucks carrying frac sand could not unload with protesters in the way. Eventually, police made arrests and took the protesters into custody, where they were referred for and charged with trespassing and then released. Trespassing is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum of a 90-day jail sentence and/or a $1,000 fine.
The following people are currently charged with trespassing: Michael Anthony Abdoo, 25, of Clinton, Mich.; Frank Greg Anglada, 34, of Dubuque, Iowa; Mark Benedict Becker, 28, of La Plata, Mo.; Jerome William Berrigan, 38, of Kalamazoo, Mich.; Edward Walter Bloomer, 66, of Des Moines, Iowa; Julie Lynn Brown, 36, of Des Moines, Iowa; Matthew Francis Byrnes, 29, of Winona; Cullom Joseph Cahill, 24, of Milwaukee, Wis.; Stephen Douglas Clemens, 63, of Minneapolis; Frank Joseph Cordaro, 62, of Des Moines, Iowa; Nikki Ann Fleck, 25, of Iowa City, Iowa; Paul Christopher Freid, 36, of Lake City; John Edward Heid, 59, of Tucson, Ariz.; William Clair Hesch-Bruggeman, 28, of Winona; Ethan Nathaniel Hughes, 43, of LaPlata, Mo.; Jared John Ingebretson, 27, of Minneapolis; James Hunter Johnson, 24, of High Point, N.C.; Barbara Ann Kass, 59, of Luck, Wis.; Joseph Morley Kruse, 25, of Minneapolis; Rebecca Murn Lambert, 30, of Mallow, Iowa; , Diane Catherine Leutgeb Munson, 41, of Rushford; Michael Roy Miles, 60, of Luck, Wis.; Michael Timothy Leutgeb Munson, 31, of Winona; Jacob Thomas Olzen, 29, of Lake City; Jessica Rae Reznicek, 32, of Centerville, Iowa; Marie Elise Shebeck, 28, of Chicago; Kyla Rae Sisson, 26, of Minneapolis; Rachel Adelaide Stoll, 26, of Milwaukee, Wis.; Charles Douglas Thompson, 30, of Minneapolis; Roberta S. Thurstin, 70, of Milwaukee; Ashley Finch Walker, 28, of Batesville, Miss.; Daniel Arthur Wilson, 25, of Winona; and Katherine Leigh Wolf, 24, of Winona.
Charges were dropped against Brenna Cussen Anglade, 34, of La Motte, Iowa, and Nancy Luechtefeld, 61, of Marvin, S.D.
In a press release from the defendants and their lawyer, Richmond McCluer, they anticipate the trial to last a minimum of three days. They will gather at 8:00 a.m. outside of the Winona County Courthouse and will be available for questions.