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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Aaron Foster Arrested!

Folks, Aaron Foster has been arrested for the murder of Barbara Winn! As this story unfolds I will post the newspaper articles here.

22 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the beginning of the end of dfl corruption in Saint Paul.

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

20 years later when there is such outrage over it that the city just can't cover it up any longer, and this family finally gets some justice. I think the family should sue the city of St Paul for depravation of constitutional rights.

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

St. Paul covered up murder for 0ver 20 years, but there's no corruption here right guys? I can't wait till a grand jury gets convened regarding the allegations these landlords are making in their lawsuits. Maybe this really is the beginning of the end of the corruption in St Paul.

11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Winn's civil rights were denied to her when the city "put in the fix" so this guy would not be held responsible.

11:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finney pal indicted in 1981 shooting death of Barbara Winn in Maplewood
Close friend of retired St. Paul police chief suspected of slaying girlfriend; investigation reopened last year
BY MARA H. GOTTFRIED
Pioneer Press
Article Last Updated: 11/02/2007 01:13:46 AM CDT


New booking mug of Aaron Foster Sr. A Ramsey County grand jury handed up a third-degree murder indictment Thursday, Nov. 1, 2007 against Aaron Foster Sr., 55, in the 1981 death of Barbara Winn in Maplewood. (Ramsey County sheriff's office)More than a quarter century after Barbara Winn died in her Maplewood home, a grand jury indicted her boyfriend Thursday on a murder charge.

A Ramsey County grand jury handed up a third-degree murder indictment against Aaron Foster Sr., a St. Paul police civilian employee.

Foster, 55, was arrested after Winn died in 1981 but hadn't been charged. He claims Winn killed herself.

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

Finney and Foster are close friends, and Finney hired him to work for the police department.

Winn's family had raised concerns about Finney's presence at Winn's autopsy and police reports indicating Finney, then a St. Paul police officer, witnessed Foster assaulting Winn in the past. Winn was 35 at the time of her death.

Finney, who couldn't be reached for comment Thursday night, has said he did not act improperly.

Fletcher's office reopened an investigation into the case last year. Finney questioned the timing given the election, though Fletcher said the move wasn't politically motivated.

Fletcher went on to narrowly win the election.

"It's about justice. It's not politics," Patty Bruce, Winn's sister-in-law, said Thursday. "We've been trying very, very hard to get people in our own community to see past the politics and to understand this is about a homicide and domestic violence."

Ramsey County District Court officials notified the sheriff's office about 5:30 p.m. Thursday that a third-degree murder warrant for Foster's arrest had been issued, Fletcher said. At that point, sheriff's deputies began looking for Foster.

About 6:30 p.m., Foster's attorney contacted the sheriff's office and offered to bring Foster in, Fletcher said. Foster turned himself in at the county jail at 7:45 p.m.

Foster is expected to make his first court appearance, when bail will be set, this afternoon, said Earl Gray, Foster's attorney.

Foster will plead not guilty, Gray said.

"We'll let the judicial system take its course and at the end he'll be found not guilty," Gray said. "Just because someone's indicted doesn't mean anything. There's an old saying that if a prosecutor wants a ham sandwich indicted, he can get it done."

The Anoka County attorney's office had been reviewing the case since last year, when the Ramsey County attorney's office referred the case there to avoid a potential conflict of interest. Anoka County prosecutors told the Winn family in September that a Ramsey County grand jury would be convened to review the case.

On May 8, 1981, Winn died of a gunshot wound. Her two sons, ages 12 and 15 at the time, told police they heard their mother and Foster arguing before the gun went off, according to the Maplewood police report. The boys told police they saw Foster running from the room where Winn was found dead, a police report said.

Foster told police that when the gun went off, he was in another room downstairs, a police report said. Foster said he disposed of the handgun involved in Winn's death, but said she had asked him to do so after shooting herself, according to a police report.

"There's nothing we can do about the years that have passed," Bruce said. "What's important now is that we are on what I call the second huge step toward justice for Barbara and that is the mere fact it's going through the justice system like it should have in 1981."

Rediscovered autopsy photos and new gun tests bolstered evidence against Foster, Fletcher said earlier this year. The sheriff said testing concluded it would have been "nearly impossible" for Winn to have shot herself based on the bullet's path through her chest. He also said autopsy photos clearly showed Winn was beaten before she died.

Foster, who works as a clerk at the St. Paul police impound lot, has been placed on administrative leave, according to a department spokesman.

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

6:19 AM  
Blogger John Krenik said...

To the Winn Family,

Many prayers have been answered by the murder indictment of Aaron Foster.

To Patty Bruce, you deserve a big pat on the back and many thanks for your tireless efforts to bring justice to Barbara Winn's murder. You are amazing!

Patty and many other posters have stated and restated the facts of the case many times over the years on this forum and others. The bottom line in all of this was it was not ok for Aaron Foster to hit his girlfriends or his wife. Because of Aaron’s inability to control his anger resulted in the violent death of Barbara Winn in 1981 in front of her children. My heart goes out to these children for having to go through such an experience. I have met some of Barbara’s children and she would be very proud of them!

For over 26 years this case was not brought before a grand jury because of connections and actions of one and/or several of Aaron Foster friends. The indictment of Aaron Foster yesterday has sent a powerful messages, 1. It is NOT ok to hit your wife or girlfriend; this is called domestic abuse. 2. You cannot hide forever. 3. The truth eventually comes out. My many thanks to the men and women of grand jury who looked at the facts of the case and were not swayed by political connections or politics in their decision to indict Aaron Foster.

Now it will be up to another jury to decide if Aaron Foster is guilty or not. We must celebrate that this case was even reviewed by a grand jury in the first place.

To Bob Johnson and others on this forum, THANK YOU for getting the word out!

Sincerely,

John F. Krenik

6:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its about time the he was arrested, now to find him guilty.
The city government can go to jail too.
Remmember the word counspiricy.

6:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaron will be out of jail later today.

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They should give Aaron a plea deal to get info on whether Finey knew he was a killer and helped him cover it up.Theres nothing worse than a wife beater and a killer.But I'd say Finey might be right up there if he helped cover it up.

7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how a clerk in the impound lot can afford an attorney like Earl Grey?

Look to the drug connections between Finney and his friends Foster, Pluff, Duke and Tucker.

Just something to think about.

7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finney is managing Melvin Carters campaign for city council.

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

COMMENTS FROM TWINCITIES.COM


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Comments
thats was an open- shut case but if you knew the people in office it was an opened door to freedom... any day old rookie knew that....BAD COP __NO DONUT!!!!

Posted by: whitey basher

11/2/2007 12:46 AM
14114.1 Report as Violation

Avg 3.66, 3 votes

Former Chief Finney sure runs with a rough crowd. I believe his son is also involved in a murder. What a bunch of thugs. There is a saying that you are judged by the company you keep. Thank God Fletcher won the election. Good Riddance to BAD Rubbish...

Posted by: Moral Majority

11/2/2007 4:47 AM
14114.2 Report as Violation

Avg 2.50, 4 votes

You can sure judge a person by who they run with, what about Naylon and Fletcher's cronnies? Foster and Naylon can share a prison cell. What are the feds doing? Please we need a new sheriff........appoint one..........

Posted by: Deputy

11/2/2007 5:39 AM
14114.3 Report as Violation

Avg 5.00, 3 votes

What? No stupid race comments yet?

Posted by:

11/2/2007 6:34 AM
14114.4 Report as Violation

Avg 1.00, 1 vote

Sleezy Journalism at its worst. Who is the sleezier of the two, MARA H. GOTTFRIED or the Pioneer Press for hiring her. The indicted person Foster is not even named in the headline, this is an unfair attack on Finney, has this paper no morals?

This paper should be ashamed of itself. Finney committed no crime, not even accused of a crime but is once again is attacked by a reporter who seemingly works at the behest of Sheriff Bob Fletcher to attack his political foes and drag them through the mud.


Posted by: Manderson

11/2/2007 6:50 AM
14114.5 Report as Violation

Avg 2.87, 8 votes

For over 26 years this case was not brought before a grand jury because of the connections and actions of one and/or several of Aaron Foster friends. The indictment of Aaron Foster yesterday has sent a powerful messages, 1. It is NOT ok to hit your wife or girlfriend, as this is domestic abuse. 2. You cannot hide forever. 3. The truth eventually comes out. My many thanks to the men and women of grand jury who looked at the facts of the case and were not swayed by political connections or politics in their decision to indict Aaron Foster.

Now it will be up to another jury to decide if Aaron Foster is guilty or not. We must celebrate that this case was even reviewed by a grand jury in the first place.

My many thanks to Bob Fletcher, Bill Snyder, Maplewood PD and Patty Bruce for their tireless efforts to bring the murder of Barbara Winn to justice.


Posted by: John F. Krenik

11/2/2007 7:19 AM
14114.6 Report as Violation

Avg 3.90, 11 votes

Hire your crooked friends or hire a murderer-which one do ya want?

Posted by: independant

11/2/2007 7:38 AM
14114.7 Report as Violation

No rating

Will the public corruption FBI investigation relating to the Sheriff's Office come up in the trial? If members of the Sheriff's Office are indicted for corruption affect the outcome?

Posted by: Just Askin'

11/2/2007 7:58 AM
14114.8 Report as Violation

Avg 5.00, 2 votes

For over 20 years St Paul covered up murder. Maybe this is the start of the end of the corruption in St Paul.

Posted by:

11/2/2007 8:16 AM
14114.9 Report as Violation

Avg 1.00, 1 vote

Finney knew all about it. Arrest him.

Posted by:

11/2/2007 8:35 AM
14114.10 Report as Violation

Avg 5.00, 3 votes

10:00 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Man indicted in girlfriend's '81 death
In a Ramsey County case filled with political overtones, Aaron Foster is jailed on murder charges but says he's innocent.

By Mary Lynn Smith and Joy Powell, Star Tribune

Last update: November 01, 2007 – 11:57 PM

More than 26 years ago Barbara Winn's three teenage children watched their mother die from a gunshot wound. On Thursday they rejoiced at news that the man they blamed for her death had been charged with murder.
Aaron Foster, 55, accompanied by his attorney, turned himself in to the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office Thursday night after learning that a Ramsey County grand jury had indicted him for third-degree murder in Winn's death.

"[Foster] claimed she committed suicide, but we always suspected that he murdered her," said Patty Bruce, Winn's sister-in-law.

Foster's defense attorney, Earl Gray, said Thursday night that he had not seen Foster's indictment, but that his client will plead not guilty.

Gray also said the passage of time would work against Foster. "How would you like to defend yourself against an allegation that's 27 years old," Gray said. "It's rather difficult."

Giving thanks

Gathering Thursday evening in Bruce's North St. Paul home, the family was feeling ecstatic. "This is the second major step to justice," Bruce said. "The first step was getting the case to a grand jury.

"It should have gone to a grand jury in 1981," she added. "We don't know why it's taken so long."

Foster was arrested shortly after Winn's 1981 death but never charged, and Winn's family members later said they believed that his friend, William Finney, a St. Paul police officer who would later become the city's top cop, had shielded him from prosecution.

It's a charge Finney adamantly denies.

The family recalls that Finney, who was not directly involved in the investigation, had appeared unexpectedly at Winn's autopsy the morning after she was killed.

The case resurfaced, with political overtones, during the neck-and-neck 2006 race for Ramsey County sheriff, when incumbent Sheriff Bob Fletcher, who was running against Finney, reopened the case.

Winn's death was one of the first investigations undertaken by a cold case unit Fletcher created in January 2006, saying that technological advances were making old cases easier to solve.

Finney said he went to Winn's autopsy partly out of disbelief that a friend was dead; he claimed that Fletcher's interest in the case was purely political.

But Fletcher said he acted appropriately by not waiting until after the election to reopen the case. He said he first learned of the case in March 2006 when a St. Paul police officer said he had seen Foster carrying a weapon and called to ask if he was licensed to carry. That officer told Fletcher that Foster, who was working at the St. Paul police impound lot, had been a suspect in the Winn case, and the sheriff began looking into it.

Foster, who had been Winn's live-in boyfriend, had told police in May 1981 that he had found Winn wounded, that she told him she had just shot herself, and that she told him to throw away the gun. Foster told investigators that he took the gun, dumped it in a nearby field and called police. He then returned to Winn's home.

Finney, who had retired as St. Paul police chief in 2004, was friends with both Foster and Winn. Her family, however, has said that he was certainly not close enough to have made himself an uninvited guest at her autopsy.

The medical examiner's office never ruled how Winn died.

Finney had told police that he had once seen Foster slap Winn and faced questions about why he didn't arrest Foster for assault. He told a Star Tribune reporter in 2006 that it was a minor assault when he was off-duty.

After reopening the case, Fletcher said, he learned of the extent of Finney's friendship with the family. He turned over the case to Anoka County sheriff's investigators to avoid any conflict of interest. But Anoka County sent the case back to him, saying it should be reviewed for possible charges.

Ramsey County attorney Susan Gaertner, a Finney supporter in the sheriff's race, quickly returned the case to the Anoka County attorney's office to avoid any conflict of interest, her spokesman explained in 2006.

Fletcher said his office received a warrant for Foster's arrest at 5:25 p.m. Thursday. He said his deputies were in the process of looking for Foster when Foster turned himself at the jail. Bail was set at $350,000, and he is scheduled to appear in Ramsey County District Court today, Fletcher said.

Fletcher said Thursday he wasn't going to speculate why the case took so long reach a grand jury. Privy only to the investigative files and not the secret grand jury deliberations, Fletcher said additional witness interviews and new evidence are "very powerful."This is about justice for the children," Fletcher said. "The wheels of justice turn very slowly, but they always keep turning."

Bruce said the family is well aware that the case has a long way to go before it's resolved in court. "We'll have some rough roads ahead," she said, "but it's not as rough as having no justice."

In the past year, Bruce has created a website devoted to Winn that has brought attention to her sister-in-law's death and the issue of domestic abuse.

She declined to speculate about the case's lengthy gestation. "We could spend a lot of time pointing fingers and trying to find blame as to why this fell through the cracks," she said. "We're just now hoping for justice and hope that no other family has to go through what we've gone through."

Staff writers Terry Collins and Courtney Blanchard contributed to this report.

mlsmith@startribune.com

612-673-4788

jpowell@startribune.com 612-673-7750

11:42 AM  
Blogger Sharon Anderson said...

Thanks Bob for your public service blog: 651-266-8180 at www.co.ramsey.mn.us 2Nov07 Aaron Foster Bail Hearing at 1:20pm before Judge Michael Fetch File no.
K3-07-3854
$350,000.00 Bail continued to Arraignment 11-13-07
1. Bail Motion 2.Certificate Representation ie: Attorney Earl Gray with (3) no contact Orders of Randall Winn Tammy Halburton (sp) Tryone Winn.
Clerk stated it appears Aaron Foster in custody until tues Nov.13th,07 PLEASE NOTE: Leslie Davis and Bill Dahn went before Judge Fetch without "due process"
techinally the City, Employees are complicit in the Grand Jury Findings, as Aaron Foster now is on administrative leave "IT BETTER BE WITHOUT PAY"

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man to be released without bail in girlfriend's 1981 killing
BY MARA H. GOTTFRIED
Pioneer Press
Article Last Updated: 11/02/2007 02:54:30 PM CDT


The man indicted for murder in his girlfriend's 1981 shooting death will be released from jail without bail, a judge said this afternoon.

Prosecutors had asked that bail for Aaron Foster Sr. be set at $350,000. The judge set conditions for Foster's release, which include not having contact with Barbara Winn's three children.

Foster is accused of fatally shooting Winn in the chest May 8, 1981. He claims Winn killed herself. Winn was 35 when she died.

A Ramsey County grand jury Thursday indicted Foster on charges of third-degree unintentional murder while committing or attempting to commit a felony. Prosecutors said the felony is second-degree assault.

Foster, 55, was arrested after Winn died, but hadn't been charged.

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

Finney and Foster are close friends, and Finney hired him to work for the police department.

Winn's family had raised concerns about Finney's presence at Winn's autopsy and police reports indicating Finney, then a St. Paul police officer, witnessed Foster assaulting Winn in the past.

Finney has said he did not act improperly.

Foster, who works as a clerk at the St. Paul police impound lot, has been placed on administrative leave.

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So how does a person get arrested for murder then released without bail? Must have something to do with who you know, what a messed up judicial system Ramsey county has!

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was so happy to hear that a grand jury issued a warrant for Foster so that the Winn family will see justiced served. Now it is a disappointment to see that he has been released without bail. I find it very disturbing that anyone can be released from jail without bail that is charged with murder.

Nancy O.

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For a city who is willing to turn a landlords life inside out over a few minor code violations to now go ahead and release a murder suspect who has close ties to the political powers in St Paul and Ramsey County just tells me they are setting up another scam to shield this guy from responsibility.

Who else would get this type of treatment if they were not politically connected?

6:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does a person get arrested for murder and released without bail?

SIMPLE question, the evidence doesn't support any charges, THAT'S HOW!

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The city in this case is not Saint Paul smartguys, its Maplewood.
Big difference.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wrong bigmouth.......the city is St Paul not Maplewood. The victim was from Maplewood. There isn't anyone gives a shit about her, but the target of the investigation is a "connected St Paul resident" and St Paul obstructed the investigation and covered it up for 26 years.

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 8:50 PM
Your right.
The Honerable Judge Fetch is the couprit in the justice of the Barbara Winn murder now.
When and where will the corruption stop?

12:24 PM  

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