Itasca County woman pleads guilty to intentional murder, arson

Crystal Marie Wilson, 42, of Deer River, faces up to more than 37 years in prison after pleading guilty on Monday to second-degree intentional murder and first-degree arson for an incident that took place on July 18 near Deer River.

Crystal Marie Wilson WEB.jpg
Crystal Marie Wilson

ITASCA COUNTY, Minn. — A 42-year-old Deer River woman has pleaded guilty to second-degree intentional murder and first-degree arson for a July 18 incident near Deer River.

According to a release from the Itasca County Attorney's Office, on Oct. 31, Crystal Marie Wilson, 42, of Deer River, appeared in Itasca County District Court for a plea hearing and now faces up to 448 months in prison.

"The parties will appear at a contested sentencing hearing to argue the appropriate sentence to the court," the release said. "At the plea hearing, Itasca County Attorney Matti Adam told the court that the state will seek consecutive sentences for both offenses. Counsel for the defendant will ask the court to find mitigating factors and order a reduced sentence."

A sentencing hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. Jan. 20, 2023.

These charges stem from an incident that took place on July 18 when law enforcement responded to a call that a camper was on fire in Ball Club, about 50 miles east of Bemidji. Through the course of the investigation, authorities learned that a male was deceased and suffered severe injuries unrelated to the fire.


According to the criminal complaint, on July 18, Itasca County Law Enforcement was dispatched to a report of a camper on fire with a person inside in Ball Club. Upon arrival, law enforcement found a man lying to the west of the camper with severe burns on his hand and arms along with wounds on his shoulder. Witnesses on the scene said they pulled the man to where he was and he was identified as Bradley Reymann, 59, of Deer River.

In an interview with Wilson at the Itasca County Sheriff’s Office, she explained, in summation, that she had used methamphetamine and alcohol on the morning of July 17 and she went to Reymann's camper because she knew it was a place where she could get something to use, whether meth or alcohol.

She explained that no one else was at the camper and at some point, she started to think that Reymann was going to attack her with a butcher knife. Wilson said that she began to stab him repeatedly with what was later found to be needle-nose pliers all over his chest, back, shoulders and head and then punched and kicked him.

When asked how many times she stabbed him, she said “I just kept going. And if he tried to move, I’d do it again wherever I could reach.”

She said at some point they both fell asleep or went unconscious on the floor of the camper. She awoke next to Reymann on the floor and at one point she probed one of his stab wounds with her finger “because the entire experience seemed surreal.” Wilson said that Reymann was laying on the floor and was cold to the touch and that she knew "he was dead.”

She then found a lighter and lit the camper on fire by igniting curtains and a blanket that was on top of the bed. At one point, Wilson said she thought she was burning a witch. She said that the smoke was strong enough that she had to hold her breath to get out of the camper and she left Reymann laying on the floor.

She added that as she walked away and looked back at the camper, she thought “I really did that. What did I just do?”

Witnesses later discovered the fire and pulled Reymann out of the camper and called 911.


The medical examiner’s office classified the manner of death as a homicide with the cause of death as being multiple blunt, sharp and asphyxial injuries including several broken ribs.

Records indicate that Wilson was previously convicted in March 2006 with a felony for aiding an offender on probation, in October 2012 with a felony for theft by swindle and in March 2018 with a felony for fifth-degree controlled substance.

Annalise is the editor and a photographer at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is a Mass Communication graduate from Bemidji State University. Her favorite pastime is exploring the great outdoors and capturing its natural beauty on camera. Contact Annalise at (218) 333-9796, (218) 358-1990 or
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