Complaint: Minn. man planned to hurt prosecutor

Published 9:39 am Tuesday, December 20, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota man charged with shooting a prosecutor and witness after he was found guilty of a sex crime told authorities he planned to hurt the prosecutor if convicted to give him “something to remember” for a case that he said was wrecking his life, according to a charges filed Monday.

Daniel Schlienz, 42, of Grand Marais, was charged Monday with six counts, including two counts of premeditated first-degree attempted murder, in last Thursday’s shooting in the Cook County courthouse in far northeastern Minnesota. He appeared in a Duluth courtroom, and was held on $2 million bail.

The shooting happened moments after a jury convicted Schlienz on one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim under 16 and acquitted him on another criminal sex count. Schlienz wasn’t taken into custody after that verdict, and authorities said there was no indication he would do anything violent.

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According to the complaint, Schlienz had been planning the attack. He told a former girlfriend the night before the verdict that he had a plan if things didn’t go his way, but wouldn’t elaborate, saying “you’ll know it when you see it,” the complaint said.

“He said that it was not his intention to kill anyone, but rather he wanted to hurt them and give them something to remember, indicating they had screwed with the wrong guy,” the complaint said. “Defendant indicated he did not have a plan for escape and was thinking of suicide or being shot by a cop.”

The shooting left Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell, 45, and Greg Thompson, 53, both of Grand Marais, hospitalized with multiple gunshot wounds. Scannell was in fair condition Monday; Thompson, who was a witness in the case, was in good condition.

Schlienz’s defense is being handled by the public defender’s office. Chief Public Defender Fred Friedman said he had no comment Monday and an attorney would be assigned once officials know where the case will be tried.

The state attorney general’s office is prosecuting the case.

According to the charges, after Schlienz heard the guilty verdict, he went to his car and got a .25-caliber semi-automatic pistol, which he had picked up from his home while the jury was deliberating. He then went back into the courthouse — which does not have a metal detector — and shot Thompson as he was leaving Scannell’s office, authorities said. He then allegedly shot Scannell in the chest — missing his heart by two inches — and went back into the hall and shot Thompson again.

Scannell went into his assistant county attorney’s office, but Schlienz pushed himself inside, authorities said. They said Schlienz’s mother, Scannell, the assistant county attorney and the bailiff struggled with Schlienz to try to disarm him. Scannell was shot again.

Assistant County Attorney Molly Hicken, and the bailiff, Gary Radloff, disarmed Schlienz, but he then grabbed Radloff’s weapon and fired it, the charges said. Authorities who responded to the shooting found Radloff trying to pin Schlienz to the floor. Schlienz resisted arrest and authorities used a stun gun multiple times, the complaint said.

Authorities said when they searched Schlienz, he had nine bullets in his pocket, six of which had altered tips with hatch marks. He admitted he altered the bullets about a year ago, and used them because he thought they would inflict greater damage, the complaint said.

He claimed he was upset that he was convicted of a crime he did not commit.

He told authorities he initially targeted Scannell, but decided to shoot Thompson after he heard Thompson thank Scannell for his work on a case that Schlienz felt was “wrecking my life,” the complaint said.

Schlienz’s sexual misconduct trial goes back to a 2005 incident. He had agreed to a plea deal calling for him to serve no more than four months in jail, but instead was sentenced to a year. Schlienz appealed but still served that year. He got a new trial after the state Court of Appeals said Schlienz should have been allowed to withdraw his plea once the district court disregarded the agreement.