Judge Karen Asphaug has granted a request to allow audio and video coverage of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s upcoming sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for September 21, 2016.
Grazzini-Rucki was found guilty last month on six felony counts of deprivation of parental rights related to the disappearance of her daughters, Samantha and Gianna Rucki. The sisters ran from their home on April 19, 2013 during a custody and divorce proceeding involving their parents.
David Rucki was awarded full custody of all five of his children in November 2013, while two of his daughters remained missing. On November 18, 2015 – 944 days after they disappeared – the girls were found living on a ranch in northern Minnesota by law enforcement, headed by the Lakeville Police Department. Rucki was reunited with his daughters days after they were found and they live with him at the family’s home in Lakeville.
According to Judge Asphaug’s order, there will be “no audio or video coverage of any victim testimony given during the proceedings.” Judge Apshaug’s order also states that any “audio/video coverage shall be limited to the proceedings conducted within the courtroom…”
Audio or video coverage is also “is prohibited during recesses or at any other time the trial judge is not present and presiding” and any audio or video coverage “shall not extend to activities occurring in other areas of the court building.”
During Grazzini-Rucki’s criminal trial, unauthorized pictures were taken inside the Dakota County Judicial Center in Hastings by Michael Rhedin, who has been described in court documents as Grazzini-Rucki’s boyfriend. Rhedin acknowledged taking the pictures during testimony he gave in a civil proceeding held earlier this month.
The Dakota County Sheriff’s Office has opened an investigation into the pictures taken by Rhedin during Grazzini-Rucki’s criminal trial.
Three additional people have been criminally charged with felonies related to the disappearance of the girls: Dede (Deirdre) Evavold, Douglas Dahlen and his wife, Gina Dahlen. Evavold’s criminal trial is scheduled to begin on September 26, 2016. A trial date has not been set for the Dahlens.
Judge Asphaug noted in her order that “no objections to these requests [to allow audio or video coverage] have been received from either party…”
Below is the complete order granting audio and video coverage of Grazzini-Rucki’s sentencing hearing.