Court news: Woman sentenced for renting U-Haul truck and keeping it
Melissa Ann Maloney, 48, of Fergus Falls, has been sentenced in Becker County District Court for felony theft.
According to court records, on Sept. 4, 2018 she rented a 2008 Ford E450 U-Haul in Detroit Lakes. The truck was due back the next day, but she failed to return it and did not respond to calls from the U-Haul rental business in Detroit Lakes.
It was reported stolen on Sept. 18, 2018, and officers found it in Vergas. She told police that she was getting charged daily on her credit card for the rental fees, but she was found to have paid cash and had not provided a credit card to the rental business.
On Sept. 25, Becker County District Judge Gretchen Thilmony stayed imposition of sentence and ordered her to serve 87 days in jail, with credit for 87 days served. She was ordered to pay $2,882 in restitution, a $50 fine, and $215 in court fees, and must get chemical dependency and mental health evaluations and follow the recommendations, including aftercare. She was placed on supervised probation for five years.
DL man sentenced for near-miss assault with heavy stick
Trevor Duane Smith, 31, of Detroit Lakes, has been sentenced in Becker County District Court for felony third-degree assault.
According to court records, on July 16, a Detroit Lakes police officer was watching a residence when he saw Smith and another man get in a car and leave. They returned a short time later, and the second man was walking away from the residence when the officer saw Smith running up behind him with a 4-foot long stick in his hand.
Smith got into a “batter’s stance” and swung the 2-inch thick stick at the man’s head. “It would have caused death or great bodily harm if it hit his head,” the officer said in the criminal complaint. The man, who was not named in the complaint, realized the danger and ducked under the stick at the last second. Smith ran into the residence. The attack was captured on police car video.
The angry man told the officer that the attack was over a cellphone dispute. Smith came out of the residence, swore and told the man to shut up, and called him a “little bitch.”
Smith was arrested and did not deny the encounter, but said he did it in self-defense because the man was destroying his personal property inside the residence.
On Sept. 25, Becker County District Judge Mike Fritz sentenced him to a year and a day in prison at St. Cloud, stayed for two years and six months. Smith was ordered to serve 90 days in jail, with credit for 66 days served, and no more jail time required.
He was fined $1,000 plus $1,165 in court fees, was placed on supervised probation for two years and six months.
Felony charge dismissed in poodle theft case
A felony theft charge has been dismissed in Becker County District Court against Taylor Rae Lafriniere, 23, of Frazee, because she successfully met the conditions of the court.
According to court records, on Feb. 2, 2019, she agreed to watch a male standard poodle, valued at about $2,000, for its owner overnight in Frazee. She then told the owner the poodle had run away. The owner had obtained the dog from Lafriniere’s boyfriend four days earlier, and had been told the puppy was a rescue dog and needed a good home. Lafriniere told an investigator she gave the puppy away because the dog was not adapting well to the owner’s care. She admitted going to some length to hide the theft -- reporting the dog as lost to the police department, and posting “lost dog” posters in the neighborhood.
At sentencing, she was ordered to serve five days in jail, serve 32 hours community service, pay a $500 fine plus $575 in court fees, and successfully complete supervised probation.
On Sept. 21, District Judge Jay Carlson determined that the conditions of her sentence had been met, and dismissed the charge.
Man sentenced after being caught with marijuana wax
Thomas David Vera III, 21, of Fargo, has been sentenced in Becker County District Court for gross misdemeanor fifth-degree controlled substance crime.
According to court records, on Jan. 25, a Detroit Lakes police officer pulled him over on Roosevelt Avenue for not having a front license plate. He was arrested on a warrant, and a search revealed a rubber container in his pocket with marijuana wax that weighed 7.79 grams with packaging.
In Becker County Court, Vera received a stay of adjudication, and was ordered to serve five days in jail, with credit for five days served.
He was fined $500 plus $575 in court fees. He must get a chemical dependency evaluation and follow the recommendations, including aftercare, and was placed on unsupervised probation for two years.
A felony charge of fifth-degree controlled substance crime was dropped in a plea agreement.