Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Staff reports
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Man sentenced for murder


A Pine County man convicted of murder in October was officially sentenced in court on Friday.

Robert Sam Raisch Jr. was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the murder of James Shepardson. The sentence was the statutory maximum.

County Attorney Reese Frederickson, on behalf of the state and the victim’s family, requested the maximum sentence during the sentencing arguments, noting many factors including the horrific nature of the crime.

In October, Raisch was found guilty of second degree murder-with intent, second degree murder-while committing a felony, and first degree assault.

The charges come from a March 8, 2015, incident in which law enforcement and firefighters were called to a trailer home on Hammond Road, between Finlayson and Sandstone, that was engulfed in flames. After the fire was put out, the severely burned body of Shepardson was discovered in the ashes. An autopsy revealed that Shepardson had at least six lethal depressed skull fractures that were inflicted prior to the fire. The death was ruled a homicide. An extensive investigation by the Pine County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) led to the arrest of Raisch, who was residing with a relative at a home in Sandstone.

The October trial, which was prosecuted by Frederickson personally, was two weeks long and had more than 400 exhibits. Assistant County Attorney George Joyer assisted with the prosecution.

“This case was the result of outstanding teamwork among the sheriff’s office, the BCA and the attorney’s office. The investigators, agents and attorneys put in countless hours in solving this crime, building this case and preparing for trial,” Frederickson said.

Raisch had a lengthy history of felony convictions since 1984, including numerous violent crimes. He previously had nine felony convictions, including three federal convictions, and served time in both federal and state prison. He had been released from prison only nine weeks before the murder, after serving time on an aggravated robbery conviction in Isanti County where he beat an elderly man on the head and stole his vehicle.

“This result demonstrates that we are committed to removing violent criminals from Pine County and holding people accountable for harming our citizens,” Frederickson said.


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