2 men charged in killing of 90-year-old Minn. man

Published 9:20 am Thursday, May 14, 2015

CHASKA — Two men went to rob 90-year-old Earl Olander at his rural Carver County farm home last month because they knew he’d be an easy target, but police caught up with the defendants after a citizen found savings bonds in Olander’s name while cleaning out one defendant’s former apartment, according to charges filed Wednesday.

Reinol Godines Vergara, 35, of Richfield was charged with two counts of second-degree murder, while Edson Celin-Dominguez Benitez, 29, of St. Paul was charged with two counts of aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

Earl Olander was found dead in his ransacked San Francisco Township home April 11. His hands were bound behind his back with duct tape and he had suffered several blunt-force injuries to his head and other parts of his upper body.

Email newsletter signup

Vergara knew Olander because he had once painted his house and shed, and he told police he knew Olander would be an easy target because he lived alone and had money, the complaints said.

A citizen found two $1,000 savings bonds issued in Olander name inside a large Bible while he was cleaning out Benitez’s former apartment, the complaint said. He called police on Saturday after searching the Internet for Olander’s name and learning he was a homicide victim.

Benitez admitted to police that he possessed Olander’s stolen Bible and left it behind when he moved out of his apartment, the complaints said.