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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Barbara Winn Homicide/ Grand jury to hear evidence.

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14 Comments:

Blogger Bob said...

Maplewood / Grand jury expected to review 1981 death
Barbara Winn's family 'ecstatic' with progress in case
BY MARA H. GOTTFRIED
Pioneer Press
Article Last Updated: 09/11/2007 12:19:42 AM CDT


A grand jury will be convened to review the 1981 shooting death of a St. Paul police civilian employee's girlfriend, the woman's family said Monday.

The Anoka County attorney's office has been considering charges in the case for more than a year. On Monday, Anoka County Attorney Bob Johnson telephoned Barbara Winn's sister-in-law to give her the news.

"I was just ecstatic and until I told the family, it didn't really sink in," said Patty Bruce, who is married to Winn's brother. "This is the first step."

Winn's family has been waiting for a long time to see action in the case. Winn, who was 35 and a mother of three, died in her Maplewood home early May 8, 1981.

Police arrested Aaron Foster Sr., Winn's boyfriend in 1981, after her death. He was released without being charged. An investigation into Winn's death was launched again in 2002, and no charges were brought.

Foster's attorney, Earl Gray, declined to comment Monday night but has previously said Foster is not guilty. Foster, 55, was in the home when Winn died and told police she killed herself.

Grand juries hear evidence from prosecutors and decide whether there's probable cause to believe a person committed a crime. If they believe so, the grand jury can indict the person.

Offenses that can be punishable by life in prison, such as first-degree murder, must be charged by grand jury indictment in Minnesota. Cases can also be taken to a grand jury for an independent and impartial review of the facts of a case, according to an article by the Ramsey County attorney's office.

Last year, the Ramsey County sheriff's office reopened the investigation into Winn's death and forwarded the case to the Ramsey County attorney's office to review it for charges last summer. The Ramsey County attorney's office referred the case to their Anoka County counterparts to avoid a conflict of interest.

On Monday, a Ramsey County attorney's office spokesman said his office hadn't received word from the Anoka County attorney's office about a grand jury. The Anoka County attorney's office couldn't be reached for comment Monday night.

Bruce said Johnson didn't give her a lot of details, but told her that Anoka County prosecutors would be presenting evidence to a Ramsey County grand jury soon, though a date hasn't been set. Twelve to 15 family members gathered in Bruce's front yard Monday night so she could give them the update.

"There were tears, there were smiles, there were claps," Bruce said. "We want him held accountable, whatever it takes to have him held accountable. It's going to be up to the grand jury to decide that."

The Winn case became a political hot button during the 2006 race for Ramsey County sheriff between incumbent Bob Fletcher and retired St. Paul Police Chief Bill Finney.

Foster, who works as a clerk in the St. Paul police impound lot, is a close friend of Finney's.

Winn's family had raised questions about Finney's role as a St. Paul police officer in the 1981 Maplewood investigation of Winn's death. Finney has denied any wrongdoing.

Last fall, Finney questioned the timing of Fletcher's probe of the Winn case. Fletcher was narrowly re-elected as sheriff.

Mara H. Gottfried can be reached at mgottfried@pioneerpress.com or 651-228-5262.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi All,

St. Paul Issue: Mr. Aaron Foster, an employee at the St. Paul Police Department and his involvement in the death of Barbara Winn and documented patterns of abusive behavior towards women and fellow St. Paul Police Department employees.

Today, in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Anoka County has announced that they are going to convene a grand jury to review the 1981 shooting of Barbara Winn. Currently, Mr. Aaron Foster is a civilian employee of the St. Paul Police Department. I am asking Mayor Chris Coleman and Police Chief John Harrington to immediately suspend or remove Mr. Aaron Foster from the St. Paul Police Department to another city department while the Anoka County grand jury is reviewing this murder case. I find it highly inappropriate for Mr. Aaron Foster to continue to work at the police department during this grand jury murder investigation.

1. I am formally calling on St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Police Chief John Harrington for a full investigation of Mr. Aaron Foster and his fitness to serve the citizen's of St. Paul in his current position as a civilian employee for the St. Paul Police Department. This call for investigation is based on the convening of the grand jury in Anoka County in relation to the Barbara Winn death investigation and Mr. Aaron Foster's involvement in her death and Mr. Aaron Foster's past abusive behaviors that he has exhibited at the St. Paul Police Department.

2. I am formally calling on Mayor Chris Coleman and Police Chief John Harrington to immediately suspend or reassign Mr. Aaron Foster to a non-police department assignment during this grand jury murder investigation.

3. I am formally calling for an investigation of Mr. Aaron Foster's past display of inappropriate behavior while he was employed at the St. Paul Police Department as described in, Ann Bebeau, et al v. City of St. Paul, et al lawsuit. Mr. Aaron Foster's display of highly inappropriate behavior on numerous occasions is very troubling and has already resulted in one lawsuit being brought against the city of St. Paul, (Ann Bebeau, et al v. City of St. Paul, et al).

This pattern of inappropriate behavior exhibited by Mr. Aaron Foster is also supported by the testimony of several St. Paul police officers in the above-mentioned lawsuit. The city lost this lawsuit and this has cost the city of St. Paul a judgement of $19,838.40. This is not including all the attorney fees for the City of St. Paul.

4. I am also calling for a full investigation of Mr. Aaron Foster and his inappropriate and abusive behavior against a city employee, Ann Bebeau and numerous unnamed city employees. This behavior is not appropriate in the workplace.

5. I am calling for an investigation of past reports to the St. Paul Police Department about Mr. Aaron Foster's inappropriate behavior and the police department's response or lack of response to these complaints by current and former members of the police department.

6. Integrity does count, and I have great confidence in Mayor Coleman to put personal and political alliances aside and investigate these serious charges against a current city employee.

7. I call upon Mr. Aaron Foster to do the right thing, to step aside during this investigation into his involvement in the death of Barbara Winn. The integrity of the St. Paul Police Department is at issue here and until your innocence or guilt is determined it is imperative that you step aside so there is not a cloud over the St. Paul Police Department.

As many of you know, Anoka County has been reviewing the Barbara Winn death for just about a year now after receiving the case from Ramsey County. The Anoka County Attorney Office has determined that there is enough evidence against Mr. Aaron Foster for a review by a grand jury. This review by a grand jury is all the family ever wanted.

I applaud Sheriff Bob Fletcher, Bill Snyder and the Ramsey County Sheriff's office for their unending dedication to bringing justice to this terrible matter

The assault by a man against a woman should NEVER happen. Sadly, all too often this is the case. We, as a community need to take action and not tolerate such inappropriate behavior.

I appreciate all of the members on this list who have sent letters to Anoka County to help bring justice for Barbara Winn, justice that has been delayed for over 25 years. Hopefully now, with this grand jury investigation, we will finally bring closure to this nightmare for the Winn Family.


Sincerely,


John Krenik
Highland Park, St. Paul, Minnesota

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the Winn Family,

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time.

My thoughts and prayers are with the grand jury to make and honest and fair decision.

I am happy to see Anoka County will convene a grand jury. Letting the facts speak for themselves is all everyone wanted, well everyone except Aaron Foster.

Note to Aaron Foster; pack your bags the deal is up, you don’t have a “protector” anymore, you shouldn’t have got upset at him. Pretty soon you will be chillin like a villain if your attorney, Earl Gray can’t get you off. Say, Aaron, how can you afford an attorney like Earl Grey on what you make at SPPD?

I am sure the boys in the slammer are looking forward to your stay in jail. You will be chillin with some major villains there. You will only experience a fraction of the pain you have caused the Winn family. You deprived Barbara’s children of their mother. You have hit other women and you treat women like dirt. You are going to get what is coming to you.

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaron Foster will not go before the Grand Jury, the case will. Small distinction. Are you prepared for both possible outcomes, how would you respond to an indictment or a 'no indictment' vote. Will people treat Foster like any other citizen if there is no indictment? Will people appologize to Corky Finney if there is no indictment?

Not saying if he is or is not worthy of an indictment, that's for the citizens of Anoka County who sit on the Grand Jury to decide. Just throwing out talking points for discussion

11:03 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

I changed the title 11:03.. Good point!

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To answer some of 11:03 questions.

I am afraid with all the publicity. If the grand jury goes forward with charges and Aaron is not found guilty, he will be Saint Paul's OJ.

And Finney will always be know as the guy who has relationships with cocaine traffickers and suspicious characters who beat their woman like Aaron. Aaron's abuse of woman is ecthed in stone.

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to 1:03 AM

I see Mr. Krenik in his post only mentioned Aaron Foster, as it should be. This is totally about Aaron Foster and Barbara Winn and the events that happened on May 8, 1981 in Maplewood. If during the grand jury investigation, additional information is brought out about other people’s actions then let the chips fall where they may. These people are responsible for their actions along with Aaron Foster.

Right now this is only about Aaron Foster and his actions on May 8, 1981 in relation to the death of Barbara Winn.

Mr. Krenik is correct, Aaron Foster needs to step aside from his duties at the police department until there is a determination by the grand jury. This is for the protection of the police department.

Please remember this is a murder investigation and there is no statue of limitations on murder investigations. In St. Paul, we recently had a trial for two individuals who shot a St. Paul Policeman in cold blood in May 1972. These men were convicted of killing this officer. This conviction has been upheld on appeals to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I ment 11:03 AM not 1:03 AM

11:45 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

Who is this person/people who have such a boner for Finney? It really distracts from the case at hand.

Its amazing that nothing can be written about the current Sheriff or former Police Chief without it becoming a battle royal.

Grow up. A Grand Jury will look at the evidence and make a decision.

Eric M.

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric,

No one said anything about Finney, this is about Aaron Foster and Barbara Winnn and the Anoka County grand jury.

Aaron Foster has to face the music. It has taken over 25 years for him to face a grand jury. Now the family can begin to heal by the start of this grand jury process, a process that should have happened a long time ago.

The whole topic of Finney is left for another day, the focus is on Aaron Foster and Barbara Winn.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

12:04
I was talking about the post at 11:20am.

Eric M.

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Krenik

In St Paul they do not suspend people for wrong doing , but rather they give them promotions and pay raises.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Nancy Lazaryan said...

Well, I've been reading along here, and have decided to "jump in".

I think that the RAMSEY COUNTY grand jury will be deciding this, with the ANOKA county prosecutor bringing it.

If that is not the case, we have some real problems, because the "conflict of interest" is with the Ramsey County prosecutor, not the Citizens of Ramsey County, sitting on the grand jury, that are charged with the duty to investigate.

If it IS the Anoka County grand jury that is doing the investigation...then SOMEONE needs to make a lot of noise.

And, I am hoping that this grand jury will be a "runaway" grand jury...whereby the grand jury "locks the doors" and does not allow any interference from the prosecutor or the judge.

The runaway grand jury has INCREDIBLE power to investigate this murder....without being influenced by "politics".

This is a moment when the sovereign people take charge and find out the truth. I hope the members of the grand jury have the will and the courage to demand justice.

Nancy Lazaryan

11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nancy,
You are correct. Anoka County prosecutors will present this case to a Ramsy County grand jury.

5:18 PM  

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