Northern Minn. man charged with murder, three still being sought
WALKER, Minn. — A Cass Lake man was charged with murder Tuesday morning, two days after a Cass Lake woman died from a gunshot wound to the head.
Brandon Joseph Roy, 24, was arraigned in Walker shortly after the Cass County Attorney’s Office charged him with one count of second-degree unintentional murder and one count of first-degree aggravated robbery.
Roy was escorted into the courtroom Tuesday by three bailiffs and communicated mostly with nods throughout his arraignment. He cried occasionally during the hearing.
According to a criminal complaint, the 25-year-old victim, referred to in documents as BLS, was killed during a robbery-gone-wrong.
The criminal complaint against Roy includes the accounts of two witnesses who told law enforcement that they were present during the shooting.
The two witnesses, called W1 and W2, met with Roy at a store “on an arranged deal for controlled substances.” The pair then went with Roy to an apartment on Seventh Street in Cass Lake. While there, Roy, the two witnesses and others used drugs and were “partying,” the complaint said.
Eventually, Roy allegedly went into another room and came back with a handgun and a Cass Lake man identified in the complaint as Anthony LaRose. LaRose was allegedly armed with a shotgun.
The two men allegedly pointed their guns at the two witnesses and demanded drugs and money, at which point a fight broke out.
During the fight, Roy and LaRose injured the two witnesses, the complaint said, and LaRose allegedly fired two warning shots with the shotgun. W1 told police he and Roy went into the laundry room and fought over the handgun, at which point W1 bit Roy on the left hand.
While the struggle was going on, a woman identified in the complaint as a “female associate” of Roy and LaRose stole a “large sum” of money” and “a quantity of drugs” from W1.
According to the complaint, Roy then took the drugs, money and handgun, and went into the apartment bathroom with LaRose. One of the witnesses began banging on the bathroom door demanding his money back.
Either Roy or LaRose then fired the handgun twice, according to the complaint. One of the shots went through the bathroom door and hit the victim in the center of the forehead.
The two witnesses fled the apartment. A woman identified in the complaint as Ilesha Guinn called 911, then fled with Anthony LaRose and Sara LaRose.
Law enforcement arrived at the Seventh Street apartment at about 8:18 a.m. Sunday and found the back door open, and the victim on the floor with a gunshot wound to the forehead.
Roy was later found in Bemidji and arrested. The complaint says that Roy told police after his arrest that he was at the Seventh Street apartment with Anthony and Sara LaRose, the victim and Guinn, and that they all smoked meth.
Roy said that when the two witnesses arrived the women at the apartment tried to rob W1, and that he fought with W1 over a handgun. He said that the handgun went off twice and one of the rounds hit the victim.
Authorities are still searching for Guinn, 25, and Sara LaRose, 41, and Anthony LaRose, 28.
Though Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch said that law enforcement officials aren’t sure whether the three people are suspects or witnesses, Anthony LaRose was referred to as “Defendant Larose” in the criminal complaint. He has not been charged with a crime related to the robbery and murder.
“We just need to speak to them,” Burch said. “We don’t know if they’re suspects or witnesses, but we’d like to talk to them.”
He later referred to the trio as persons of interest.
Burch said that if anyone spots the LaRoses and Guinn they should not approach them, and contact the Cass County Sheriff’s Office at (218) 547-1424 or (800) 450-2677.
Roy is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 22.