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Woman in Wal-Mart incident pleads guilty

Unconditional bail stays at $100,000

September 12, 2012
By Fritz Busch - Staff Writer , The Journal

NEW ULM - A 38-year-old Worthington woman pleaded guilty Tuesday in Brown County District Court to kidnapping and terroristic threats charges stemming from a June 14, 2012 incident at the New Ulm Wal-Mart Supercenter.

Judge Robert Docherty denied a request from Elisheba Swett to be released from jail. Swett indicated she wanted to be closer to her Worthington boyfriend.

Docherty kept Swett's unconditional bail at $100,000.

The judge ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set Swett's sentencing date at 1:45 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 16 in Brown County District Court.

A Brown County Crime Victim Specialist said a victim in the incident was still seeking counseling and continued to be "very traumatized."

Prosecuting attorney Josh Steinbrecher of New Ulm said he was satisfied with the judge's decision and that it was likely the victim would speak at Swett's sentencing.

Swett faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $35,000 fine for felony kidnapping and one year in prison and a $3,000 fine for gross misdemeanor terroristic threats. She was originally charged with five counts including felony second-degree aggravated attempted robbery, misdemeanor fifth-degree assault and misdemeanor theft.

As part of Tuesday's plea agreement, Swett admitted to going to the Super Wal-Mart store, walking up to a cashier, taking her as a hostage and forcing her into the parking lot. She said there was a bomb in the store.

According to the complaint, witnesses said Swett released the clerk when police arrived at about 6:25 p.m., but briefly resisted arrest before she was taken into custody and transported to the Brown County Jail.

Police evacuated the store, searched it, but did not find a bomb. Customers were allowed back in the store at about 8:30 p.m. that night.

Law enforcement observed the entire sequence of events on Wal-Mart's video surveillance system, which matched accounts given by store employees.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at fbusch@nujournal.com).

 
 

 

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