UPDATED 2: Murder suspects confessJudge Robert Macaulay set bail at $1 million each for a man and a woman charged with second-degree murder in Carlton County Court last Thursday. David Joshua Annette (aka Josh Martineau or “Fathead”), 28, and Rachel Charlotte Defoe, 25, both of Cloquet, were each charged with two counts of murder in the second degree, for the murders of Kim Schmitz and Tom Holm of Cromwell. In addition to DNA evidence, according to an amended criminal complaint filed Thursday, March 3, it appears that both Annette and Defoe confessed to investigators, admitting to their involvement in the double homicide.
By: Jana Peterson/Wendy Johnson email@example.com, Pine Journal
Judge Robert Macaulay set bail at $1 million each for a man and a woman charged with second-degree murder in Carlton County Court last Thursday.
David Joshua Annette (aka Josh Martineau or “Fathead”), 28, and Rachel Charlotte Defoe, 25, both of Cloquet, were each charged with two counts of murder in the second degree, for the murders of Kim Schmitz and Tom Holm of Cromwell. In addition to DNA evidence, according to an amended criminal complaint filed Thursday, March 3, it appears that both Annette and Defoe confessed to investigators, admitting to their involvement in the double homicide.
Before a packed courtroom, County Attorney Thom Pertler requested the high bail amount for reasons of public safety, likelihood of incarceration for the defendants and because the evidence against both defendants was “very strong.” Pertler later said the bail is the highest set for anyone in the county since Donald Blom, who was found guilty of kidnapping and murdering Moose Lake convenience store clerk Katie Poirier.
Pertler will determine whether to ask that a grand jury be convened in the case to consider first-degree murder charges prior to the scheduled Rule 8 hearing set for Friday, March 18. He explained that his office cannot charge suspects with first-degree murder, and that determination must be left up to a grand jury. The major difference, he said, between first- and second-degree charges lies in the sentencing guidelines. A first-degree murder conviction can carry with it a life sentence, while someone found guilty on a second-degree charge could feasibly serve as little as 16 years, depending on their criminal history score.
According to the complaints:
The defendants told investigators that Defoe drove both of them to the victims’ home in Cromwell in the early afternoon hours of Jan. 8, where they visited for a period of time. Upon leaving, the two devised a plan to go back and rob Holm, who was the only one there at the time. Defoe drove back, but stayed in the car while Annette went inside, the complaint says. Annette then shot and killed Holm (the medical examiner stated Holm died of two gunshot wounds to the back of the head). The complaint states that Annette then returned to the vehicle and loaded it with stolen property, including guns, fishing gear and a chainsaw, and Defoe drove away.
Annette remained at the residence, and when Schmitz returned home, Annette told investigators he shot her as well – Schmitz died of a single gunshot wound to the back of the head – according to the complaint. Annette contacted Defoe later in the evening after having stolen Holm’s truck and driven it into the ditch on Albert Road in St. Louis County, where the truck was set on fire together with clothing items worn by both defendants at the time of the homicides.
Investigators were able to confirm the details of the defendants’ statements. They recovered items of evidence, including clothing from the burned-out truck and much of the stolen property as well as a .22 caliber rifle Annette allegedly used to kill the victims and later sold to a third individual (who advised law enforcement of the sale within a few days of paying $100 for the gun).
According to the criminal complaint, Annette and Defoe had been under suspicion for some time, but law enforcement didn’t move to arrest them until DNA evidence putting Annette at the scene of the crime came back from the BCA lab Saturday, Feb. 26.
Early in the investigation, at least two different individuals (one called from a prison in Texas) suggested law enforcement look to Annette for information regarding the double homicide.
After conducting a background investigation of the couple, investigators obtained a warrant and conducted a search of the St. Louis County residence where the pair was staying on Jan. 19.
In the course of that search, law enforcement officers located a .22 caliber long gun, drug paraphernalia and boots that Defoe admitted were hers that had been purchased at Walmart in Cloquet Jan. 8. The boots were of a similar size and print as boot marks left at the residence of Schmitz and Holm the weekend they were killed.
Although the murders were discovered Jan. 9 by a friend of the deceased, investigators were able to track the timing and whereabouts of the victims and obtain a time frame that put the homicides as occurring in the last afternoon or early evening hours of Saturday, Jan. 8. At the time officers searched their residence, both Defoe and Annette denied knowing Schmitz or Holm, although they did admit to being with each other most of the day Jan. 8.
At that point, it appears investigators knew from talking to a previous girlfriend of Annette’s as well as other individuals that Annette and Holm were acquainted and that Annette had actually stayed at the victims’ home for a period of time approximately two years ago.
Multiple DNA samples obtained from the crime scene included DNA from both the victims, and a third DNA profile obtained from two blood smears at the crime scene as well as a cigarette butt. The BCA lab determined the unknown third DNA profile was a match for Annette – who voluntarily provided investigators with a buccal (cheek) swab on two separate occasions, allowing them to obtain his DNA profile – estimating that 99.99 percent of the general population is excluded from contributing that DNA profile.
Both Defoe and Annette are scheduled for their next court appearance at 11 a.m. Friday, March 18, in Carlton County Court. Both qualified for a public defender; Northeastern Minnesota Chief
Public Defender Fred Friedman later
appointed Duluth lawyer Keith Shaw to represent Annette and
Cloquet lawyer Joanna Wiegert to represent Defoe.