Not guilty plea in home invasion

Published 10:51 am Friday, April 15, 2016

Children reportedly taken at gunpoint in A.L.

A Chicago woman pleaded not guilty Thursday in Freeborn County District Court to an alleged home invasion last month in Albert Lea.

Benita Crum

Benita Crum

Benita Nicole Crum, 33, pleaded not guilty to one count of first-degree burglary and two counts of fifth-degree assault in front of District Court Judge Steven Schwab.

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According to court documents, officers were dispatched to 610 Ruble Ave. on March 31 on a report that someone had kidnapped two children at gunpoint.

Crum is reportedly the mother of the two children.The dispute was over child custody.

The alleged victim said he heard someone downstairs on his porch. He reportedly opened up the door and found Jessie Crum, Benita Crum’s brother.

He claimed Jessie Crum put a gun to his abdomen and threatened him.

Benita Crum reportedly punched a daughter of the alleged victim’s girlfriend in the face and scratched her right arm, left hand and rib area. She reportedly struck another daughter in the chest and scratched her arm.

Officers determined the father of the two children may have picked up the children from school in Rochester and brought them to Albert Lea. The children were reportedly living with Crum’s mother in Rochester.

Crum said she had spoken with Rochester police who told her she could take her children back.

The children were later found and taken into protective custody.

Jessie Crum was arrested April 2 in Olmsted County on warrants and on probable cause tied to the case. Charges have not yet been filed against him, according to the Freeborn County Attorney’s Office.

First-degree burglary carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $35,000 fine.

A settlement conference in Benita Crum’s case is scheduled for June 9, and a jury trial is scheduled for Sept. 13, if the case is not resolved by then.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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