Judge puts murder trial on hold to consider dismissal

Hennepin County District Court Judge Mark Wernick suspended the murder trial of Jamaal Freeman today to review information defense attorneys introduced today as grounds for a dismissal.

“I’m going to send the jury out until Monday and I’m going to think about this,” he said.

Freeman is accused of killing Kingfield resident Mark Loesch on Sept. 12, 2007 with a baseball bat. Freeman is one of two suspects – co-defendant Donald Jackson pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery for his role. Defense lawyers for Freeman say Jackson was the sole killer.

The information in question might create another suspect. It is a report, which surfaced today, from Minneapolis Police Officer Tim Costello’s interview with informant David Tyus. The report states that Tyus told Costello he heard from Freeman that then 12-year-old Kevin Dickerson, known as “Little Kevin,” was there the night of the murder.    

Dickerson is the boy who found Loesch’s body the morning of Sept. 13 in his front yard, as he was on his way to school. Jackson testified yesterday that he was close with Dickerson, who he thought of as a little brother.

Why the information about Dickerson wasn’t known earlier was unclear.

Defense attorney Emmett Donnelly said the information affects the whole case and his cross-examinations of witnesses throughout the week would have been different had he had it. He accused the prosecution of withholding the information and demanded the case be dismissed.

"This is inexcusable, it’s unethical and it’s probably illegal," Donnelly opined. 

Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Therese Galatowitsch said nothing was withheld. She argued that the information about Dickerson had been laced throughout the trial through testimony from witnesses.

Wernick said he was concerned about the police department’s handling of Tyus, but he needed to do more research before deciding whether the trial should continue.

He planned to meet with attorneys from both sides this afternoon to discuss the situation further and the Jury was told to return at 9:30 a.m. Monday.  

Loesch, a software engineer and father of four, left home on his bike around 10:30 p.m. Sept. 12, 2007. His body was found a mile and a half away the next morning.

Jackson said the encounter with Loesch began when the cyclist approached him looking for $40 worth of crack. Loesch had a history of using the drug, though he successfully completed rehabilitation in 2001 and the medical examiner found no illegal substances of any kind in his system after he died.