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Appeals court rejects reduction in sentence in Minn. bow-and-arrow murder

Dwayne Case

OLIVIA, Minn. — The Minnesota Court of Appeals rejected a bid by a Renville County defendant for a reduction of his 415-month prison sentence for second-degree murder.

The court rejected the argument by Dwayne Case, 31, that the sentence "exaggerates his criminality" in a ruling issued Monday, March 13. The court also said it found "no compelling circumstances'' to reverse the sentence.

Case offered a plea to second-degree murder for the June 12, 2015, death of his girlfriend, Elizabeth Gregg, 46 at a remote campsite along the Minnesota River. He had used his compound bow to fire a broadhead tipped arrow into her abdomen, according to the charges against him.

Case subsequently walked to his mother's house, returned to the campsite and shot himself. A co-worker who came to pick him up for work discovered him in the morning and notified authorities, who obtained medical help for him.

Case offered a Norgaard plea in the case, meaning he was unable to recall the facts of the case but agreed the state had evidence sufficient for a jury to find him guilty. In return for the plea, the defense and prosecution agreed that the court would sentence Case according to sentencing guidelines which call for a presumptive sentencing range of 295 months to 415 months in prison. The prosecution also agreed it would not pursue a more severe sentence than what the guidelines would recommend — despite its claims that aggravating factors such as the painful manner of death and the victim's vulnerability would justify it.

Case entered his plea two days before a grand jury was to be convened to consider a possible indictment on first-degree murder.

The court sentenced Case to the top-of-the-range sentence of 415 months despite an appeal by the defense for a lesser sentence at the time.

Case argued that he demonstrated a great deal of remorse by shooting himself. In its decision, the court noted that even if his remorse was sincere, it does not mitigate his criminality.

"Case's attempted suicide and his later professed accountability for his actions do not in any way mitigate the conduct of the actual murder, which, again, involved him shooting Gregg with a hunting arrow and then allowing her to endure what was likely a lengthy, painful death,'' wrote the court in its decision.

He is currently serving his sentence at the state correctional facility in Rush City, according to the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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