May 26, 2017 –  At a pre-trial hearing in Cook County Court this morning, Kirk Lee Bigby, 62, of Finland, MN, pleaded guilty to Felony Murder in the December 2015 shooting death of 35-year-old Marcus Roberts of Bloomington, MN. The incident occurred in Tofte, MN.

The State of Minnesota was represented by Cook County Attorney Molly Hicken with assistance from Assistant Attorney General David Miller. The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission, as authorized by the Minnesota legislature, has set the presumptive sentence for Felony Murder, for a defendant who has no criminal history, to a range of 128 - 180 months in the custody of the Department of Corrections.

May 25, 2017 – The Cook County Sheriff's Office has received reports of illegal tree cutting in the Tom Lake area. A blue van with three to four adult males were witnessed in the Tom Lake area cutting down trees. Witnesses report approximately twenty-five Birch trees piled up. The trees are typically small birch trees which are sold to craft companies.

“Unfortunately, it seems there is a highly profitable market for these trees and bark,” said Sheriff Pat Eliasen. “Conservation officers are reporting an alarming rate of illegal cutting of birch trees across Minnesota and Wisconsin for use in decorating and sales to craft companies. This activity is damaging to our wilderness and wildlife, and these trees can take up to a decade or more to regenerate.”

May 23, 2017 – Following are a summary of highlights and key priorities from the May 23 Cook County Board Meeting:

Insurance Review
Representatives from Minnesota County Intergovernmental Trust (MCIT), which represents the insurance needs of 81 of the 87 Minnesota Counties, were on hand to deliver the Annual Report for the organization. The report included statewide statistics as well as specific usages and costs for Cook County. MCIT provides insurance services for Cook County for automobile, property, liability and workers compensation.

Jail Facility Study
Sheriff Pat Eliasen brought forward a comprehensive Request for Proposal (RFP) to solicit bids to study options for law enforcement and jail facilities in Cook County. The current 72-hour-hold facility has many drawbacks including lack of space, outdated facilities and the need to transport and house county inmates in other facilities around greater Minnesota which costs the County approximately $250,000 annually. The RFP process will take several months and if the County receives acceptable and competitive bids then the County could contract for a review of facilities to include feasibility studies for future Cook County law enforcement needs. The Board approved the request and we look forward to a good process and sound options moving forward.

© 2017 Cook County Minnesota