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Itasca County beheading suspects back in court

The suspect in an Itasca County beheading death will not be back in court until the end of August, giving his defense attorney time to review evidence before deciding how to proceed.

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Joseph Thoresen (left) and Kayleene Greniger

The suspect in an Itasca County beheading death will not be back in court until the end of August, giving his defense attorney time to review evidence before deciding how to proceed.

Joseph Christen Thoresen, 35, made his second appearance in State District Court in Grand Rapids on Tuesday. He faces an intentional second-degree murder charge in the death of 20-year-old David Alexander Haiman of Hibbing.

At the brief hearing, Judge Korey Wahwassuck scheduled his next court appearance for Aug. 29. Thoresen continues to be held on bail of $1 million with conditions or $2 million without.

Haiman’s body was found in the Ball Club area of rural Itasca County last week, several days after he was reported missing. Authorities said he had been fatally assaulted with a baseball bat, knife and machete.

The act allegedly was carried out in retaliation for the reported sexual assault of Thoresen’s girlfriend, Kayleene Danielle Greniger.

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Greniger, 22, also made her second court appearance Tuesday. She allegedly admitted to police that she took part in an earlier physical assault of Haiman and witnessed his killing before hiding the machete under the bed in the couple’s Grand Rapids apartment.

Greniger is charged as accomplice after the fact to second-degree murder. She also faces a third-degree assault charge.

Her next court appearance was set for July 18. Her bail is set at $100,000 with conditions or $200,000 without.

According to court documents:

Greniger told investigators that she was upset because Haiman made plans on June 20 to visit the Grand Rapids apartment that she shared with Thoresen.

She said she confronted Haiman when he arrived at the apartment, punching him in the face. She said Haiman agreed to be tied up in the apartment with a rope and beaten - apparently in retaliation for the alleged sexual assault - and that she and Thoresen both repeatedly punched him.

Greniger added that she broke Haiman’s nose during the assault.

She told investigators that she then left the apartment with the two men to look for drugs. She reported that they smoked marijuana and meth and went for a drive in the woods in Haiman’s car, with Thoresen driving.

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Greniger told police that Haiman later called her several derogatory terms and Thoresen stopped the car, claiming it was having mechanical issues.

Greniger allegedly said the men went to look under the hood when Thoresen struck Haiman with a baseball bat and stabbed him multiple times with what she described as a “large black knife.” She said Thoresen then grabbed a knife from Haiman’s belt loop and cut off his head.

Police said Greniger reported that her boyfriend then disposed of Haiman’s body in the woods and drove home to clean up.

Authorities said the account was confirmed by another man, 19-year-old Triston Michael Corwin.

Thoresen was a passenger in a car driven by Corwin in a high-speed pursuit on June 24, two days before the discovery of Haiman’s body. Police later learned that the car belonged to Haiman, who had not been reported missing at that time.

Police said Corwin claimed that he was being held at knifepoint by Thoresen and was ordered to “keep going and not stop.” Thoresen was briefly detained, but no knife was found and he was released at that time.

Corwin went on to tell investigators that Thoresen reported to him that he had beheaded the vehicle’s owner. He also stated that Thoresen brought a blood-stained baseball bat and some of the victim’s personal belongings to his rural Grand Rapids home.

Corwin faces charges of theft of a motor vehicle, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, fourth-degree driving while impaired and fleeing a police officer on foot.

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Corwin was released on his own recognizance after an initial appearance last week, and has not been charged in connection with Haiman’s death. He also appeared in court Tuesday, and is due back on Sept. 20.

Tom Olsen has covered crime and courts for the Duluth News Tribune since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and a lifelong resident of the city. Readers can contact Olsen at 218-723-5333 or tolsen@duluthnews.com.
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