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Cloquet man accepts plea agreement in Moose Lake stabbing

A Cloquet man charged in a Moose Lake stabbing last August pleaded guilty to first degree assault Thursday as part of a plea agreement. Steven Chatelaine (formerly Shotley) will spend about six years in prison according to the agreement. In Septe...

A Cloquet man charged in a Moose Lake stabbing last August pleaded guilty to first degree assault Thursday as part of a plea agreement.

Steven Chatelaine (formerly Shotley) will spend about six years in prison according to the agreement. In September, Chatelaine, 20, pleaded not guilty to two counts of attempted second-degree murder, three counts of assault and one count of first-degree burglary in the incident. In exchange for the guilty plea to one count of first-degree felony assault, the other charges against him were dropped.

Carlton County Attorney Thom Pertler said he was not aware that Chatelaine was planning to accept the plea agreement.

"We hadn't had any contact with his attorney and were preparing for trial," he said.

Chatelaine's defense attorney, Joanna Wiegert, said in court that she and her client were also preparing for a trial in the days leading up to Chatelaine's most recent appearance.

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In the end, he opted for the agreement, even though it calls for a 74-month prison sentence, she said.

During his appearance Thursday, Chatelaine answered questions about what transpired on Aug. 21. He said he had met Daisy Nell Hopson-Johnson on several occasions prior to that night and that she had talked of problems between herself and the victim, John 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 there was an "understanding" between himself and 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.

In court Thursday, 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.

Chatelaine is set to be sentenced in the matter at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4, and remains in the Carlton County Jail.

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Moose Lake resident Jessi Marie Lees, 27, who drove the get-away car after the stabbing, 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, appeared in court after Chatelaine last Thursday and was granted a continuance until 9 a.m. Friday, Jan. 30, so she could confer with her attorney in light of the statements made by Chatelaine. She remains in Carlton County Jail.

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