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Cloquet woman sentenced for arson, witness tampering

A Cloquet woman was sentenced Monday to 9 1/2 years in prison for burning down a home and killing two dogs in an attempt to intimidate witnesses against her boyfriend, who is accused of murdering Trina Langenbrunner nearly 13 years ago.

A Cloquet woman was sentenced Monday to 9½ years in prison for burning down a home and killing two dogs in an attempt to intimidate witnesses against her boyfriend, who is accused of murdering Trina Langenbrunner nearly 13 years ago.

Sandra Kay Couture, 40, pleaded guilty in March to first-degree aggravated witness tampering and to first-degree arson.

Joseph Couture, 41, is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree criminal sexual conduct in the 2000 death of Langenbrunner. He also is accused of witness tampering.

Sandra Couture testified at her plea hearing that she had been in a romantic relationship with Joseph Couture but lived in fear of him. She said he was a jealous and controlling man with anger issues. She said they referred to themselves as husband and wife but were not married. She had been married to his brother.

The fire that Sandra Couture admitted to setting resulted in the destruction of a home and two vehicles and the death of the dogs. She said Joseph Couture wanted her to send a message to those who would testify against him.

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Trina Langenbrunner's sister, Sharri St. Germaine, attended Monday's sentencing and read a victim impact statement telling Sandra Couture how much misery she has caused to the members of her family.

Under terms of a plea agreement, Judge Dale Harris sentenced Sandra Couture to 114 months on the witness tampering conviction and 92 months on the first-degree arson conviction, to be served at the same time.

No date has yet been set for Joseph Couture's murder trial.

Related Topics: CLOQUETCRIME
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