Four Carlton County residents remain in custody as they await trial for their alleged roles in attacking and robbing a 65-year-old Cloquet man on March 14.
Three men, Kurtis Olson Tormondson, 20, of Eveleth; Chaz Dean Farleigh, 21, of Wrenshall; and Ashley Creed Farleigh Jr., 22, of Duluth; and one woman, Amber Rae Stonemark, 22, of Esko; all face four felony charges from the attack.
Each has been charged with first-degree aggravated robbery, two counts of first-degree burglary and one count of third-degree assault. Stonemark also has been charged with interfering with an emergency call, a gross misdemeanor.
The suspects appeared in Carlton County Court on Tuesday in preparation for a jury trial, said Assistant Carlton County Attorney James Ross. He is prosecuting the case. The suspects have not yet entered a plea, and are being held at the Carlton County Jail. Bail has been set between $35,000 and $75,000 for each suspect, Ross said.
The victim was an acquaintance of Stonemark's, according to Cloquet police. Stonemark stopped at his home late at night for a visit and to make a few phone calls. The victim answered a knock at the door and found the three other suspects, who sprayed a chemical agent in his face and beat him. The suspects made off with a small amount of cash, according to police.
"They thought he might be a good target," Ross said.
Chaz Farleigh and Ashley Farleigh Jr. are cousins, Ross said. Ashley Farleigh Jr. was previously convicted of third-degree burglary, according to Carlton County court records.
The incident follows wide media and public attention on a series of attacks on residents of the Sunnyside Health Care Center in Cloquet in June, December and January, when small groups of teenage boys repeatedly dumped ice water on residents. The 16-year-old alleged ringleader of those attacks is facing felony stalking charges.
Although there is no provision in the law related to the victim's age when filing charges, "when you have an older victim, you take it more seriously," Ross said. "These are some of the more vulnerable people."
The suspect's next court appearances are scheduled for April.
JANNA GOERDT covers the communities surrounding Duluth. She can be reached weekdays at (218) 279-5527 or by e-mail at email@example.com.