Man indicted on murder charges in Waite Park, Minnesota, stabbing death
Jarquez Javon Bedford, 28, faces life in prison in the stabbing death of Andrea Rae Cottew, 52, on Feb. 5. Bedford remains in custody on $4 million unconditional bail.
ST. CLOUD — A Stearns County Grand Jury has indicted a man on murder charges in the February stabbing death of a Waite Park, Minnesota, woman.
Jarquez Javon Bedford, 28, was indicted on Tuesday, May 23, on two counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder. His next court date is Friday, July 2.
The penalty for the two first-degree murder charges are life in prison; the second-degree murder charge carries up to 40 years in prison. Bedford remains in custody on $4 million unconditional bail, or $2 million with conditions, according to the county attorney's office.
Authorities claim that Bedford used a knife to kill Andrea Rae Cottew, 52, in her apartment on Feb. 5.
According to the probable cause statement, Waite Park police officers were dispatched on Feb. 6 to an apartment in the 300 block of Park Meadows Drive to conduct a welfare check.
Upon arrival, police found Cottew's body in the living room of her apartment with lacerations to her neck. Blood was found throughout the apartment, concentrated primarily in the living room and bedroom, where her mattress and bedding were “saturated” with blood, according to the statement. A blood-stained kitchen knife was found next to the bed.
Though investigators noted the door had been locked and that there were no signs of forced entry, Cottew’s phone, wallet, apartment keys and key fob were all missing.
With a review of surveillance video, investigators determined that shortly after noon on Feb. 5, Cottew had given Bedford access to the apartment building after Bedford knocked on the locked exterior door. The two talked briefly as they walked in the same direction toward Cottew’s apartment.
Less than an hour later, Bedford was captured on camera exiting the back door of the apartment building alone with his sweatshirt turned inside-out. Over the course of the next several hours, Bedford is seen on video coming and going from the first-floor hallway, where Cottew’s apartment was located, according to the statement
Access records maintained by the property indicate Cottew’s key fob was used to access the building multiple times in the hours after Bedford arrived, despite Cottew never being seen in the hallway after she entered her apartment.
In conversations with other tenants, nobody from Cottew’s floor said they recognized the defendant, but a third-floor tenant had told police that Bedford was staying with them. The third-floor tenant provided law enforcement access to cameras from inside their apartment, which showed him entering the third-floor apartment shortly after leaving Cottew’s.
Lab testing conducted by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension determined that DNA discovered on the handle of the knife matched a sample from Bedford, and that Bedford’s DNA was also found on Cottew’s purse, according to the statement.
According to the Stearns County Attorney's Office, Bedford was initially arrested on unrelated charges in Hennepin County on Feb. 10, and taken to Ramsey County on Feb. 14.