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Murder suspect to undergo mental evaluation

Detroit Lakes murder suspect David Lee Stensrud will be undergoing a psychiatric evaluation as part of the murder charges against him.

The man accused of killing a woman with a crossbow in his downtown Detroit Lakes apartment last April will be undergoing a court-ordered evaluation by a licensed psychologist.

According to Becker County Attorney Gretchen Thilmony, attorneys for 57-year-old David Lee Stensrud of Detroit Lakes have filed a Notice of Mental Illness Defense and a Rule 20.02 motion for an examination of the defendant by a qualified psychologist. 

In a court order issued Monday, Becker County District Court Judge Joseph Evans granted the motion. According to court documents, once the exam is complete, a report will be filed with the court that includes a diagnosis of his mental condition at the time of the alleged offense.

The order signed by Evans states that the evaluation and report will be done by Fargo psychologist Dr. Nancy Hein-Kolo.

“We will wait until that report is finished to schedule the next hearing, which will depend on the findings in the report,” Thilmony said in a written statement.

Stensrud was charged in the death of 69-year-old Geraldine Kading of rural Dent. According to the criminal complaint, officers had been called to Stensrud’s apartment just before 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10, for a welfare check, after receiving a report of a potential murder-suicide.

Kading was found, non-responsive, inside Stensrud’s Washington Avenue apartment with an arrow protruding from her chest.

Officers also found Stensrud lying on the floor of a bedroom, alive, also with an arrow protruding from his chest. There was a crossbow lying on the bed next to him.

He was taken by ambulance to Essentia Health-St. Mary’s in Detroit Lakes, then subsequently transported to a Fargo hospital for treatment of his injuries. He remained there for a couple of weeks before being taken to the Becker County Jail, where he remains in custody at this time.

Stensrud’s bail was set at $1 million after his first appearance on the charges of first and second degree murder back in May 2013.

Minnesota court records show that Stensrud has a violent past, and is also a convicted sex offender. He pleaded guilty in Clay County District Court to felony second-degree criminal sexual conduct in 1998 after he was accused of having sexual contact with someone under the age of 16 in May 1997. Stensrud was listed as living in Halstad at the time.

In 1999, Stensrud pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct after a 16-year-old girl told police Stensrud had sexually abused her since she was 12 years old. Stensrud lived in Hitterdal at the time, according to court records.

Stensrud was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison for the crime, an upward departure from state sentencing guidelines.

However, Stensrud was released after serving two-thirds, or about 11 years of his sentence for that crime.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454