Cloquet man sentenced to six years in stabbing caseA Cloquet man was sentenced in Carlton County Court last Wednesday to six years in prison for his role in the stabbing of a Moose Lake man last August.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
A Cloquet man was sentenced in Carlton County Court last Wednesday to six years in prison for his role in the stabbing of a Moose Lake man last August.
Steven Chatelaine (formerly Shotley) pleaded guilty to first degree felony assault in January as part of a plea agreement and had two counts of attempted second-degree murder, three counts of assault and one count of first-degree burglary dismissed.
The victim, Steven Erlitz, and his girlfriend attended the sentencing and Erlitz spoke of how the incident has impacted them. He said he and his girlfriend have lost any feelings of security, causing them to barricade themselves in their apartment at night and suffer from both insomnia and nightmares.
Erlitz also said Chatelaine didn’t come in to his apartment “just to assault.”
“I was stabbed many times and he just about punctured my lung,” Erlitz recalled. “I feel the six years ain’t long enough.”
Chatelaine also read a statement during the sentencing, thanking Carlton County District Judge Robert Macaulay for allowing him to express his remorse. He also said he prays for the victims and knows he must pay for his crime.
“I am not a violent man,” he said.
Also as part of his sentence, Chatelaine must be responsible, either solely or in part, for more than $8,000 in medical bills incurred by Erlitz.
During his January appearance, Chatelaine said he had met Daisy Nell Hopson-Johnson (who also faces criminal charges in this case) on several occasions prior to the stabbing and that she had talked of problems between herself and Erlitz, who was Hopson-Johnson’s neighbor at the Carroll Inn in Moose Lake.
On Aug. 21, Chatelaine said he received a ride from 27-year-old Jessi Marie Lees to Moose Lake from the Cloquet area and that Hopson-Johnson was in the car with them.
Chatelaine did not know the victim, but said he had an “understanding” with Hopson-Johnson that for an unnamed sum of cash, he would “come down [to Moose Lake] and see what could be done [about the situation.]”
Chatelaine also acknowledged that he was under the influence of alcohol and/or narcotics at the time which had contributed to his decision-making that night. He admitted there was a tire iron and a knife in the vehicle in which he was riding.
After arriving at the Carroll Inn, Chatelaine reportedly broke into Erlitz’s apartment and began stabbing him repeatedly. Erlitz wrestled his way outside where numerous witnesses, including Hopson-Johnson, allegedly saw them. At that point, Chatelaine ran down the stairs to the vehicle driven by Lees. The two drove away and were later stopped and arrested near Barnum.
Chatelaine admitted he assaulted Erlitz, reportedly resulting in injuries causing permanent scarring, and that he did not have permission to be in Erlitz’s apartment that night.
Lees, 27, was sentenced in December to 165 days in jail, of which 55 days were suspended. Lees had served the remaining 110 days and was released after the sentencing. She was given two years probation, fines and fees of $580 and will be partially responsible to pay restitution of more than $8,000. She is also not to have contact with the victims. Lees pleaded guilty in November to one felony charge of aiding an offender to avoid arrest and had two counts of attempted second-degree murder, three counts of assault and one count of first-degree burglary dropped as part of a plea agreement.
Hopson-Johnson, 50, is set to go on trial in May, after Carlton County Attorney Thom Pertler learned that the doctor who treated Erlitz after the stabbing is out of the country until then.
“It’s been my position that [Hopson-Johnson] is at least as culpable as [Chatelaine] and should go to prison for just as long of a time if not longer,” Pertler said.
In October, Hopson-Johnson pleaded not guilty to first degree assault, first degree burglary and two counts of second degree assault with a dangerous weapon, for her alleged role in conspiring to have Chatelaine assault her neighbor. All are felony charges.
Hopson-Johnson has been released from Carlton County Jail on probationary conditions.