Alleged murder accomplice met accused killer while working at Central Minnesota jail
WILLMAR, Minn. – A woman accused of aiding an offender after a murder met him while working as a corrections officer when he was an inmate, according to police testimony.
The lawyer for Lori Jean Harris Gafkjen says she should not be tried unless the alleged killer is convicted.
John Mack raised that issue and also whether there was probable cause for the charges against Gafkjen, 51, of Brooten, at an omnibus hearing Thursday, Feb. 7, in Kandiyohi County District Court.
Caleb Aaron Blue, 35, of Willmar, has been indicted for first-degree murder in the death of David Medellin, 24, of Willmar in October 2018.
Gafkjen, formerly known as Lori Jean Glesne, is charged with three counts of aiding an offender, all felonies. Two of the charges allege that she was an accomplice after the fact, and another alleges she helped Blue avoid arrest.
According to court records, Gafkjen is accused of taking Blue to Glacial Ridge Hospital in Glenwood to have a gash in his right hand tended, rather than to Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar. The two then spent several days at a hotel in Paynesville before going to a hotel in the Twin Cities.
Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Kent Bauman testified in the hearing about his work in investigating Medellin’s death.
Medellin died of multiple stab wounds, he said, and his body was found Oct. 31 in a field east of Willmar. The investigation revealed that Medellin likely died Oct. 25, he said.
Bauman said he directed the investigation into the Medellin death and was familiar with Gafkjen because she once worked as a corrections officer in the Kandiyohi County Jail. She met Blue when he was an inmate.
Gafkjen stopped working for the county in summer 2018, he said, and she and Blue began spending time together after he got out of jail, eventually developing a sexual relationship.
Gafkjen told authorities she found Blue’s “gangster” lifestyle exciting.
Blue told authorities that he had been hearing voices saying, “kill, kill, kill,” and told family he was “on a dark path.” Gafkjen allegedly urged him to get help and gave him rides to therapy.
Other acquaintances of the couple told authorities they overheard Blue say about five weeks before the homicide that he “needed to do something” about Medellin. Blue also allegedly carried a hit list in his wallet.
Under questioning from Assistant Kandiyohi County Attorney James Anderson, Bauman said there was no indication that Gafkjen was at the scene of the death and that she said she learned of it Nov. 2 or Nov. 3. Blue and Gafkjen were arrested in a Twin Cities suburb Nov. 5, Bauman said.