Posts tagged Kathryn Keena

Evavold found guilty for her role in disappearance of Rucki sisters

Deirdre (Dede) Evavold was convicted this afternoon on six counts of depravation of parental rights for her role in the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki.

It took the jury at the Dakota County Judicial Center in Hasting less than an hour to convict Evavold on all criminal counts she faced.

Evavold showed no emotion when the verdict was announced, but she later broke down and started crying when Judge Karen Asphaug remanded Evavold into immediate custody.

A Dakota County Sheriff’s Deputy needed to help Evavold stand, as she was visibly shaken and distraught. Evavold was removed from the courtroom and booked into jail in Hastings.

Evavold will remain in custody without bail until her sentencing hearing on November 10, 2016.

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Grazzini-Rucki sentenced to jail for role in disappearance of daughters

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was sentenced by Judge Karen Asphaug to serve 34 days in jail and for the following six years, she will serve 15 days in jail on November 18 for the next six years – the anniversary of the day her daughters were found, for her involvement in the disappearance of her two daughters for over two years.

Grazzini-Rucki, who was immediately taken into custody, will also be on probation for the next six years, and she is prohibited from having contacting with any of the victims.

Grazzini-Rucki was found guilty in July on six 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. Continue reading

Attorney: Sandra Grazzini-Rucki used donated ‘food stamp cards’ for $50K bail

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was able to post her $50,000 bail within hours of being convicted of six felonies for deprivation of parental rights, by using donated “food stamp cards” according to her attorney, Michelle MacDonald.

Grazzini-Rucki was found guilty last week 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 Grazzini-Rucki and David Rucki.

David Rucki was awarded full custody of all five of his children in November 2013, while two of his daughters remained missing. Rucki was reunited with his daughters days after they were found and they live with him at the family’s home in Lakeville.

After the guilty verdict was announced, Assistant Dakota County Attorney Kathyrn Keena said Grazzini-Rucki was a flight risk and asked for Grazzini-Rucki to be held in custody until her sentencing hearing on September 21, 2016.

Picture source: Dakota County Sheriff's Office
Picture source: Dakota County Sheriff’s Office

Keena noted it took nearly two months for law enforcement to find Grazzini-Rucki after an arrest warrant was issued for her last August. Grazzini-Rucki was eventually found at the Star Island Resort and Club in Kissimmee, Florida on October 18, 2015 and extradited back to Minnesota to await her trial.

Grazzini-Rucki was immediately taken into custody after Judge Karen Ashaug said Grazzini-Rucki would be required to post bail of $100,000 to be released without probationary conditions, or $50,000 to be released with probationary conditions.

Court documents show Grazzini-Rucki posted a $50,000 bail bond and was released from jail just hours after being convicted. Grazzini-Rucki repeatedly claimed in court that she had no money, income or home.

Grazzini-Rucki criminal defense attorney, Stephen Grigsby, said in court that he was not being paid to serve as her attorney and Grazzini-Rucki had many of her court fees waived after the judge approved her request to proceed “In Forma Pauperis.”

In response to a request for comment about how Grazzini-Rucki was able to post bail, MacDonald said a woman who was at the trial collected donations for Grazzini-Rucki, which included “food stamp cards.” MacDonald said the donations were brought to a bail bondsman by the woman at the trial, but the bail bondsman would not accept payment in that form. Continue reading

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki found guilty

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was found guilty this morning on six 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.

Grazzini-Rucki was found not guilty on two additional counts.

David Rucki, the girls’ father, was in the courtroom when the verdicts were announced. Grazzini-Rucki showed no emotion as each of the verdicts were read in the courtroom. Two supporters of Grazzini-Rucki were in the courtroom when the verdicts were announced, Michael Rhedin and Caroline Rice. Neither of them showed emotion when the verdicts were announced.

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom was also in the courtroom when the verdicts against Grazzini-Rucki were announced.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Dakota County Attorney Kathyrn Keena. Citing concerns about Grazzini-Rucki being a flight risk, Keena asked for Grazzini-Rucki to be held in custody until her sentencing hearing on September 21, 2016.

Grazzini-Rucki was immediately taken into custody and will be required to post bail of $100,000 to be released without probationary conditions, or $50,000 to be released with probationary conditions.

Judge Asphaug also ordered Grazzini-Rucki to undergo a psychological examination as part of a pre-sentencing investigation.

The jury began their deliberation yesterday afternoon, but decided to end their deliberations at 4:30 PM. The jury resumed their deliberations around 8:30 AM this morning and the verdicts were announced less than two hours later at 10:20 AM.

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.

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 in September. A trial date has not been set for the Dahlens.

The Dahlens and Evavold were granted “use immunity” to testify against Grazzini-Rucki, over the objections of the attorneys for the Dahlens. Evavold represented herself in the criminal proceedings and she also objected to having to testify against Grazzini-Rucki. Only Gina Dahlen was called to actually testify in the criminal trial.

I’ll have additional analysis on today’s verdict later today, so please check back to Missing in Minnesota.

UPDATE: Sandra Grazzini-Rucki posted bail earlier this afternoon and was released from jail. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 21, 2016.

 

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki admits past testimony in court was “dishonest”

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki admitted in testimony this morning during her criminal trial that she had repeatedly been “dishonest” when she previously testified under oath in her divorce and custody proceeding with her ex-husband, David Rucki.

Grazzini-Rucki has been charged with eight felony counts of deprivation of parental rights involving 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.

While being cross-examined yesterday by Assistant Dakota County Attorney Kathryn Keena, Grazzini-Rucki read transcripts of her “dishonest” answers to numerous questions in court proceedings where she claimed she did not know the location of her missing daughters.

Keena questioned Grazzini-Rucki for almost four hours, providing the jurors with multiple examples of Grazzini-Rucki’s “dishonest” past testimony. Keena also introduced as evidence a collection of lawsuits filed by Grazzini-Rucki in both federal and state court which contained examples of where Grazzini-Rucki was contradicting her own testimony in her current criminal trial.

Grazzini-Rucki’s attorney, Stephen Grigsby, called his client back to the witness stand to testify this morning in an attempt to correct the damage caused by Keena’s surgical examination of Grazzini-Rucki’s past dishonesty in court filings and sworn testimony. Continue reading

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s criminal trial to resume on Monday

Source: Osceola County Sheriffs Office
Sandra Grazzini-Rucki. Source: Osceola County Sheriffs Office

The first week of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s criminal trial has ended at the Dakota County Judicial Center in Hastings. I have been in the court for the entire trial over the past four days and I’ve been present longer than any other member of the media who is covering the trial.

I am taking detailed notes of every legal development, along with documenting the atmosphere in the courtroom and the behavior of the key participants. The current estimate from the judge is that the jury will begin deliberating on the facts of the case on Tuesday.

I will be back in the courtroom on Monday morning when the trial resumes, and I will be in the courtroom if and when, the jury reaches a decision on a verdict.

This case is about the disappearance of two sisters, Samantha and Gianna Rucki, who ran from their home during a custody dispute and divorce proceeding involving their parents, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and David Rucki.

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. Continue reading