Weather Forecast


Man killed in bloody melee near Bemidji; two charged in death

By Justin Glawe, Forum News Service, INFORUM

CASS LAKE, Minn. – A day of drinking alcohol to near-fatal excess ended in a bloody melee that left one man dead after a severe beating, police said.

Leslie Headbird, 44, was beaten so badly Thursday night that police were unable to revive him when they arrived at a residence on Quill Lane, the same street on which the man lived. Headbird, known around Cass Lake as “Les,” was killed in a maelstrom of fists, police said.

Police would not say whether a weapon was used in the fatal bludgeoning.

Damion John Gullickson Jr., 18, and Dora Jean Keezer, 29, were arrested in the beating not long after Headbird’s death. Both were booked into the Beltrami County Jail on charges of second-degree murder. They are expected to be formally charged with murder and lesser felony assault counts Monday, a spokeswoman for the Beltrami County Attorney’s Office said.

An unidentified 33-year-old man and Headbird’s mother, Gloria Headbird, 62, were injured in the fight. Both were taken to Sanford Bemidji Medical Center, where they were listed in good condition Friday, according to Sanford spokeswoman Kari Knudson.

The mobile home on Quill Lane where Headbird’s lifeless body was found was quiet Friday compared to the chaos that enveloped the lot 24 hours earlier.

At 2:45 p.m. Thursday, Leonard Dean Headbird, 37, a relative of Les Headbird’s, and Tressa Lee Bisonette, 39, were arrested after police responded to reports of disorderly conduct at the home. Leonard Headbird was arrested on a charge of violating a no-drink order, and Bisonette on a charge of child endangerment. A young boy was found at the home and taken into protective custody, said Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp.

Both Leonard Headbird and Bisonette had blood-alcohol levels of 0.33, and several people given Breathalyzers after the discovery of Headbird’s death blew at or above 0.40, authorities said.

“Most people would have died at that alcohol level,” Hodapp said. The legal threshold for drunken driving in Minnesota is 0.08.

Police were called back to the home just after 6:30 p.m. to break up a fight involving more than a dozen people. There, they found a chaotic and bloody scene. Among the carnage and injured bodies was Les Headbird, whose exact cause of death has yet to be released.

Forum News Service

The Forum Communications News Service is the premier news wire service covering the Upper Midwest, including the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin. In addition to breaking and enterprise news, we offer a wide variety of sports, features, business, agriculture, outdoors and opinion content. For more information about the services we offer or to discuss content subscriptions, please contact us.