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Sale of house may affect accused killer’s ability to retain public defender

Cameron Moser is charged with the murder of a woman last year at a Merrifield area resort.

Crow Wing County Judicial Center
Crow Wing County Judicial Center in Brainerd, MN.
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BRAINERD — A change in legal representation may be in store for Cameron Jay Moser, the 29-year-old man facing first-degree murder charges for the shooting death of Bethany Anne Bernatsky last year at a resort north Brainerd.

Cameron Jay Moser2.JPG
Cameron Jay Moser

Appearing Thursday, July 28, before Judge Erik Askegaard via Zoom from the Crow Wing County Jail, Moser, along with his public defender Carly Vosacek, informed Askegaard of the potential sale of Moser’s house, and the sale may change his eligibility to retain a public defender.

The Minnesota Judicial Branch states an application for a public defender must be truthfully completed and then the court reviews the Public Defender Application and decides if a defendant is financially eligible.

Askegaard said he would require Moser to fill out a new application.

Vosacek requested more time to prepare for the trial in the case and no objection was raised by Assistant Crow Wing County Attorney Kelsey Hopps. Vosacek’s request was granted by Askegaard.

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Moser faces felony murder charges stemming from an October 2021 incident at Cozy Bay Resort, north of Merrifield. Moser is accused of shooting 46-year-old Bethany Anne Bernatsky, a standout horse trainer and lakes area native who’d recently returned home to stay at the resort as she recovered from cancer treatments. Bernatsky died as a result of gunshot injuries and the manner of death was determined to be homicide by a medical examiner.

Moser, who was originally charged with felony second degree murder was later indicted by a grand jury on one charge of premeditated murder in the first degree, one charge of felony murder in the first degree and one charge of intentional murder in the second degree.

The first-degree charges carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and the second-degree murder charge carries a maximum of 40 years.

Moser remains in custody in the Crow Wing County Jail. His next court appearance is set for Oct. 6.

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The incident was reported as an “adult male vacuuming nude” to the Baxter Police Department at 10:23 p.m. the same day.

TIM SPEIER, staff writer, can be reached on Twitter @timmy2thyme , call 218-855-5859 or email tim.speier@brainerddispatch.com .

Tim Speier joined the Brainerd Dispatch in October 2021, covering Public Safety.
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