Two indicted on first-degree murder charges in Cromwell shootingsDavid Joshua Annette and Rachel Charlotte Defoe had earlier been charged with two counts each of intentional second-degree murder in the deaths of Kim Schmitz and Thomas Holm.
By: Mark Stodghill, Duluth News Tribune, Pine Journal
A Carlton County grand jury has indicted a Cloquet couple on four counts each of first-degree murder for their alleged involvement in the slayings of Kim Schmitz and her boyfriend, Thomas Holm, in the victims’ Cromwell home in January.
David Joshua Annette, 27, is charged with two counts of premeditated first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree murder while committing or attempting to commit first-degree burglary and/or aggravated robbery.
Rachel Charlotte Defoe, 25, is charged with two counts of aiding and abetting premeditated first-degree murder and two counts of aiding and abetting first-degree murder while committing or attempting to commit first-degree burglary and/or aggravated robbery.
Both suspects had earlier been charged with two counts each of intentional second-degree murder. They appeared before 6th Judicial District Judge Robert Macaulay on the new first-degree murder indictments today.
“Based on the investigation and the effort the law enforcement community put into it, I’m comfortable they did a very good job of solving this double homicide; that’s why we called in the grand jury and the grand jury agreed,” Carlton County Attorney Thom Pertler said after the defendants were indicted.
In Minnesota, only a grand jury can bring a first-degree murder charge.
According to the criminal complaints charging the couple, the defendants told investigators that Defoe drove Annette to the victim’s Cromwell residence for a visit in the early afternoon Jan. 8. They then left the home for a short time and developed a plan to rob Holm.
Defoe allegedly drove back to the victims’ residence and remained in her vehicle while Annette went into the residence and shot and killed Holm.
Annette loaded their vehicle with stolen property from the residence, including guns, fishing gear and a chain saw. Defoe left the home and Annette remained.
When Schmitz arrived home from work, Annette said, he killed her, too, according to the complaint. Later that night, the complaint states, Annette put the clothes the defendants had been wearing into Holm’s truck, drove the truck into the ditch on Albert Road in St. Louis County and set it on fire.
Annette’s DNA was found at the scene of the murders. Defoe’s wasn’t. An autopsy conducted at the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that both victims had been killed by gunshot wounds to the head. Holm had two gunshot wounds to the back of his head and Schmitz one gunshot wound to the back of her head.
Defoe is being represented by Cloquet defense attorney Joanna Wiegert.
“My client didn’t shoot anybody so we will work with the indictment and do what needs to be done,” Wiegert said. “My client didn’t hear any shots. She had no idea what was happening.”
Annette’s attorney, Duluth defense attorney Keith Shaw, couldn’t be reached for comment.
The defendants are being held in the Carlton County Jail on $1 million bail each.