Grand jury deals first-degree charges

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 30, 2001

A Freeborn County grand jury has indicted Paul Gutierrez, Jr.

Wednesday, May 30, 2001

A Freeborn County grand jury has indicted Paul Gutierrez, Jr. for two counts of first-degree murder for the April death of 17-month-old Makaio Radke of Albert Lea.

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The jury found enough evidence of criminal sexual conduct and child abuse to charge Gutierrez with two counts of premeditated murder. The jury also handed down a third count of second-degree murder.

If convicted of the first count, felony murder by criminal sexual conduct, Gutierrez would face a maximum penalty of life in prison with no chance of parole.

Freeborn County will now prepare for its first premeditated murder trial in more than a decade, said County Attorney Craig Nelson. The county has already called in an attorney from the Minnesota Attorney General’s office to take the lead in prosecuting the case, he said.

&uot;Let’s face it – we don’t have many murder trials in this county,&uot; Nelson said. &uot;We felt it was appropriate to ask the attorney general’s office for help.&uot; William Klumpp, Jr., an experienced prosecutor who was also involved in the Cally Jo Larson case in Waseca, will lead the state’s effort.

The grand jury that indicted Gutierrez was the first called to service in Freeborn County in at least 13 years, Nelson said.

Prosecutors presented the jury with evidence that Gutierrez sexually assaulted Radke, including the child’s injuries and DNA evidence, he said.

The jury also found sufficient evidence of a pattern of abuse to charge Gutierrez with first-degree murder by child abuse.

Gutierrez was scheduled to be arraigned on the charges at 11 a.m. today.

Radke was discovered dead April 21 in the Albert Lea home where he lived with siblings, his mother, her roommate, and Gutierrez, a part-time resident of the home. A forensics team from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension examined the crime scene and an autopsy confirmed that Radke died of extreme child abuse.

Police arrested Gutierrez, who had been babysitting Radke at the child’s estimated time of death, while his mother and her roommate were gone.