LITCHFIELD, Minn. — Multiple defendants made their first court appearance Thursday, Oct. 8, in front of Judge Stephanie Beckman at the Meeker County Courthouse to face felony charges related to an Oct. 4 shooting in Litchfield, Minn., that has left the victim in a coma.
According to the Meeker County Attorney’s Office, the shooting was part of a revenge plan to “rough up” the victim — identified by the Meeker County Sheriff's Office as a 24-year-old rural Litchfield man — for selling methamphetamine to one of the defendants.
Carl Henry Leaf, 18, of Grove City, Minn., is charged with felony second-degree attempted murder and felony first-degree assault. Leaf is accused of shooting the man in the neck Oct. 4 after luring him to a shed for a potential drug buy, according to court documents.
Leaf also has been charged with two felony drug charges related to marijuana found in his car.
If convicted, Leaf could be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison for the attempted murder charge, 20 years and/or a $30,000 fine for the assault charge and five years and/or $10,000 fine for the drug charges.
Beckman ordered Leaf held in the Meeker County Jail on $1.5 million unconditional bail or bond or $1 million conditional bail or bond in accordance with what Meeker County Attorney Brandi Schiefelbein sought and over the objections of Leaf’s lawyer, Brian Olsen, of Cokato, Minn.
“There was a plan that was hatched,” Schiefelbein said in court. “We’re looking at life-threatening injuries.”
Schiefelbein added that the victim is still in a coma and that his health could still change.
Olsen argued that while Leaf had made a horrible choice, he was extremely intoxicated and cited the recent million-dollar bail for former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd as a reason Leaf’s bail was excessive.
According to court documents, Leaf confessed Oct. 6 to law enforcement that he was upset after learning that the man had sold methamphetamine to another defendant, Elizabeth Anne Smith, 18, of Litchfield.
Leaf told law enforcement that he wanted to be a “hero” and stop the man from selling drugs to his friends, leading Leaf and Smith to plan on buying drugs from the man so that Leaf could beat him up, according to court documents.
According to Leaf’s confession, Smith told the man to meet in a storm shelter outside of the man's residence for the drug buy. When the man, Leaf and Smith were in the shelter, Leaf said he tried to kick him, the man then grabbed Leaf and Leaf then shot him.
According to the county, video footage from a security camera at the man's residence shows Leaf, Smith and the victim entering the storm shelter followed by Leaf opening the door and fleeing the area. The footage then shows the man running out holding his chest/neck area.
Leaf’s provisional driver’s license card was also found in a wallet by the storm shelter, according to court documents.
An Oct. 5 search warrant of Leaf’s vehicle produced 125 grams of marijuana, a baseball bat with nails sticking out of it, a carbon dioxide-powered BB pistol and casings of two fired .40-caliber bullets.
Smith faces felony first-degree assault — liability for crimes of another and a gross misdemeanor for failure to render aid — duty of witness for her alleged role in the shooting.
Smith has been assigned a public defender but they were not present during her hearing. Her next court date is set for Nov. 5.
Beckman ordered that Smith be held on $750,000 unconditional bail or bond, or $500,000 conditional bail or bond, after county attorney Schiefelbein argued that Smith was a willing participant in the scheme.
According to court documents, Smith told law enforcement on Oct. 6 that Leaf and her boyfriend were upset that she had smoked methamphetamine with the victim a week before.
Smith then told law enforcement that Leaf spoke with her boyfriend in the presence of another defendant, Jaden Carl Anthony Kramp, 18, of Litchfield, about “taking care” of the victim.
Smith also told law enforcement about the alleged scheme to bait the man into the storm shelter for a drug buy and that Leaf shot him.
Smith told law enforcement that, after the shooting, Leaf went into a neighbor’s residence where Kramp was and said “It’s done.”
Leaf told law enforcement that he used a .38 special revolver which was later recovered from the residence of another defendant, Nicole Radke, 45, of Grove City.
Olsen, Leaf’s lawyer, signaled that the voluntariness of Leaf’s confession will be challenged during Leaf’s next hearing on Nov. 5.
Kramp is charged with felony aiding an offender to avoid arrest for allegedly driving Leaf to Radke’s residence in Grove City after Leaf told him that he had committed a shooting.
If convicted, Kramp faces three years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.
Beckman ordered Kramp be held on $25,000 unconditional bail or bond, $10,000 bail or bond with conditions, or $1,000 cash bail with conditions. His next court date is set for Dec. 29.
According to a statement given by Smith to law enforcement, while Kramp was driving both Smith and Leaf to Radke’s residence, Leaf said he was “happy” about what happened.
Radke has been charged with felony aiding an offender to avoid arrest and if convicted could face three years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine. Radke also faces two gross misdemeanor drug charges for methamphetamine found in her home during an Oct. 4 search.
After Leaf arrived at Radke's house following the shooting, he shaved his head and changed his clothes. The county alleges that Leaf gave his firearm to Radke.
Radke has been assigned a public defender but they were not present during her hearing.
During her hearing, Radke said she’s been cooperative with law enforcement and disputed the county’s version of events.
According to court documents, a woman arrived at the Meeker County Law Enforcement lobby Oct. 5 to drop off a bag of Leaf’s hair at the request of Radke.
An Oct. 6 search warrant executed at Radke’s home produced a Rock Island Armory Model 206 black .38-caliber revolver from Radke’s bedroom closet with three fired .38 special rounds and one unfired round along with jeans belonging to Leaf.
Her next court date is scheduled for Oct. 20 and she is being held on either $30,000 unconditional bail or bond or $10,000 conditional bail or bond.