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TMCNet:  Majerle omnibus postponed

[January 31, 2013]

Majerle omnibus postponed

Jan 31, 2013 (The Pine Journal - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The omnibus hearing for the Cloquet woman accused of attempted murder in the first degree in the shooting of her estranged husband has been postponed pending receipt of medical records.
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Marie Margaret Majerle, 36, is accused of going to the Cloquet home of her husband, Richard Alan Majerle, 38, early in the morning on Jan. 6 and, after they had spent some time together, shooting him in the upper chest with a semi-automatic rifle in the sauna. Marie Majerle is also charged with removing or altering a serial number on that firearm.

St. Louis County Chief Public Defender Fred Friedman made his first appearance in Carlton County Court Wednesday as Marie Majerle's defense attorney. He noted that his client was in the midst of reading discovery in the case shared by Carlton County Attorney Thom Pertler.

Friedman also said his office had requested her various mental health records.

"Which are substantial," he said, noting that they had some Duluth records and were waiting on records from central Florida.

The defense attorney added that he needed to see all of Marie Majerle's records before deciding if he will ask for a "Rule 20" mental evaluation of his client. Such an evaluation occurs in criminal cases when there is a belief that a defendant may not be competent to proceed with the case or was not responsible at the time of the alleged offense because of mental illness or developmental disability.

According to the criminal complaint: Cloquet police officers responded to a 911 call about a shooting from a home in the 1200 block of Slate Street about 5:50 a.m. Jan. 6 and approached the home armed with long guns. Officers approached and observed that Richard Majerle appeared to have a gunshot wound in his upper chest. He was in serious condition for several days but has since been released from a Duluth hospital.

Richard Majerle told police on the way to the hospital that he had been in bed asleep when he heard a knock on the door about 3 a.m. and found his estranged wife at the door. He said she asked to come in and he allowed her in.

The couple talked, and at some point decided to go to sleep. About 5 a.m., Marie Majerle asked Richard Majerle to start the sauna, which he agreed to do. Then she told him she needed to leave temporarily to get some medication.

Richard Majerle told police that his wife returned to the sauna after about five minutes, opened the door and raised a .22 rifle toward him. He flinched; at the same time, the complaint said, Marie Majerle shot her husband, wounding him in the upper-left chest area.

According to the complaint, Marie Majerle dropped the rifle but remained at the home as Richard Majerle searched for his cell phone and called 911. According the complaint, Marie Majerle took the phone away from him when he was making the call. Jail 911 tapes show there was an initial call from Richard Majerle and then a hang-up.

On Wednesday, Friedman said once his office receives all of the medical records they will notify the Carlton County Attorney's office and proceed with a contested omnibus hearing.

"Issues would be the admissibility of statements [Marie Majerle] gave police officers and the issue of probable cause on both counts," Friedman told Judge Robert Macaulay, confirming that he would be requesting live testimony at the hearing, which is tentatively set for March.

Marie Majerle spoke only once during the proceedings Wednesday, a soft "Yes sir," to Judge Macaulay's question about waiving her right to an omnibus hearing within 28 days of her arrest.

As of Wednesday, Deputy Cloquet Police Chief Terry Hill said police had not located Marie Majerle's ex-husband, John Edwin Bemis III, who was reported missing by his family Jan. 9. Marie Majerle had been staying with Bemis prior to the incident. Police had searched his home Jan. 7 -- following the Jan. 6 shooting -- and found a drill press with fresh metal shavings "consistent with the gun where the serial numbers were shaved off," according to Pertler.

Hill said Bemis is not a suspect in the case at this time, but he is wanted for further questioning as a possible witness.

Bemis is white, 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighs 180 pounds and has brown hair and green eyes. Authorities said they believe Bemis is traveling in a 2005 red GMC Sierra extended-cab pickup truck with a Minnesota "Support Our Troops" license plate numbered 140DH and has a 2009 red Kawasaki Enduro motorcycle with Minnesota plates 60170MG.

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