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Please E-mail suggested additions, comments and/or corrections to Kent@MoreLaw.Com.

Date: 09-07-2016

Case Style:

United States of America v. Danny James Heinrich

Case Number: 0:15-cr-00340-JRT-LIB

Judge: John R. Tunheim

Court: United States District Court for the District of Minnesota (Hennepin County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: Steven L. Schleicher and Julie Allyn

Defendant's Attorney: Reynaldo A. Aligada, Jr. and Katherian D. Roe

Description: Minneapolis, MN - Danny Heinrich Admits To Murder Of Jacob Wetterling

Danny James Heinrich, 53, pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges. As part of his allocution, HEINRICH admitted in court that on October 22,1989, he abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling. HEINRICH also admitted that, in January 1989, he abducted and sexually assaulted 12-year-old J.S.

Investigators recovered Jacob Wetterling’s remains on Friday, September 2, 2016; 26 years, 10 months, and 11 days after his disappearance from St. Joseph Township, Minn.

“Danny Heinrich is no longer a person of interest,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger. “He is the confessed murderer of Jacob Wetterling, and nearly 27 years after he committed this heinous crime, he has been brought to justice. And Jacob is finally home.”

“This outcome is proof of what we can accomplish when law enforcement and prosecutors work together at the federal, state and local level,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge for the Minneapolis Division Richard T. Thornton. “When the FBI proposed a cold case review with the assistance of an expert from the FBI’s Child Abduction Rapid Deployment team two years ago, our partners agreed to this and embraced the opportunity to have a new set of eyes help take a fresh look at the voluminous and complex case file. I am extraordinarily proud of the FBI and of all the law enforcement personnel, past and present who poured their hearts and souls into this investigation, seeking justice for Jacob and answers for everyone.”

“Jacob Wetterling's abduction in 1989 ended an age of innocence for Central Minnesota and beyond and had a dramatic impact on how parents raised their children,” said Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner. “As the investigation wore on and years turned to decades the hope of resolving the case and bringing Jacob home never once faltered. A combination of steadfast determination, science and a unique collaborative effort involving local, state and federal agencies highlighted the value and importance of these relationships. Even though the ending is not what we had hoped and prayed for, Jacob is finally home.”

“From the night he went missing, the BCA never gave up on finding Jacob,” said BCA Superintendent Drew Evans. “For 27 years, BCA agents and our many partner agencies from all over the country doggedly followed every lead and pursued every tip. The BCA team of agents, scientists, and crime scene examiners have been collecting and analyzing evidence throughout the investigation. Last fall, our scientists connected Heinrich through DNA to another assault, which led to his arrest on the charges he faces today, and eventually, led our agents and crime scene team to Jacob. While this is not the result we hoped for, Jacob can now finally come home.”

“This event in the history of Minnesota, especially the history of Stearns County, could not have been accomplished without every member of this local, state and national team,” said Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall. “Despite the complication of this path, this case demonstrates that no case is too hard to solve, no tip too insignificant to consider, and no legal obstacle insurmountable in finding answers and accountability for Jacob Wetterling and for everyone near and far who knows his name. We never stopped looking for Jacob; none of us will ever forget the moment we found him. Our condolences and deepest sympathies remain with the Wetterling family.”

According to HEINRICH’s guilty plea, on October 22, 1989, he abducted, sexually assaulted, and murdered Jacob Wetterling.

According to HEINRICH’s guilty plea, on January 13, 1989, he abducted and sexually assaulted J.S., a 12-year-old boy.

According to HEINRICH’s guilty plea, he possessed between 10 and 150 child pornography images, including images of prepubescent minors under the age of 12. The pornographic material portrays sadistic or masochistic conduct, and images of morphed child pornography.

The parties have jointly recommended a federal prison sentence of 20 years.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office.

Substantial assistance in prosecuting this case was provided by the Stearns County Attorney’s Office. The Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section also provided assistance.



Defendant Information:

DANNY JAMES HEINRICH, 53

Annandale, Minn.

Convicted:

Receipt of child pornography, 1 count

§2252. Certain activities relating to material involving the sexual exploitation of minors

(a) Any person who—

(1) knowingly transports or ships using any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce or in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce by any means including by computer or mails, any visual depiction, if—

(A) the producing of such visual depiction involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; and

(B) such visual depiction is of such conduct;

(2) knowingly receives, or distributes, any visual depiction using any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce or that has been mailed, or has been shipped or transported in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, or which contains materials which have been mailed or so shipped or transported, by any means including by computer, or knowingly reproduces any visual depiction for distribution using any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce or in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or through the mails, if—

(A) the producing of such visual depiction involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; and

(B) such visual depiction is of such conduct;

(3) either—

(A) in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or on any land or building owned by, leased to, or otherwise used by or under the control of the Government of the United States, or in the Indian country as defined in section 1151 of this title, knowingly sells or possesses with intent to sell any visual depiction; or

(B) knowingly sells or possesses with intent to sell any visual depiction that has been mailed, shipped, or transported using any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce, or has been shipped or transported in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, or which was produced using materials which have been mailed or so shipped or transported using any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including by computer, if—

(i) the producing of such visual depiction involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; and

(ii) such visual depiction is of such conduct; or

(4) either—

(A) in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or on any land or building owned by, leased to, or otherwise used by or under the control of the Government of the United States, or in the Indian country as defined in section 1151 of this title, knowingly possesses, or knowingly accesses with intent to view, 1 or more books, magazines, periodicals, films, video tapes, or other matter which contain any visual depiction; or

(B) knowingly possesses, or knowingly accesses with intent to view, 1 or more books, magazines, periodicals, films, video tapes, or other matter which contain any visual depiction that has been mailed, or has been shipped or transported using any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce or in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, or which was produced using materials which have been mailed or so shipped or transported, by any means including by computer, if—

(i) the producing of such visual depiction involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; and

(ii) such visual depiction is of such conduct;

shall be punished as provided in subsection (b) of this section.

(b)(1) Whoever violates, or attempts or conspires to violate, paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subsection (a) shall be fined under this title and imprisoned not less than 5 years and not more than 20 years, but if such person has a prior conviction under this chapter, section 1591, chapter 71, chapter 109A, or chapter 117, or under section 920 of title 10 (article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), or under the laws of any State relating to aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse, or abusive sexual conduct involving a minor or ward, or the production, possession, receipt, mailing, sale, distribution, shipment, or transportation of child pornography, or sex trafficking of children, such person shall be fined under this title and imprisoned for not less than 15 years nor more than 40 years.

(2) Whoever violates, or attempts or conspires to violate, paragraph (4) of subsection (a) shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both, but if such person has a prior conviction under this chapter, chapter 71, chapter 109A, or chapter 117, or under section 920 of title 10 (article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), or under the laws of any State relating to aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse, or abusive sexual conduct involving a minor or ward, or the production, possession, receipt, mailing, sale, distribution, shipment, or transportation of child pornography, such person shall be fined under this title and imprisoned for not less than 10 years nor more than 20 years.

(c) Affirmative Defense.—It shall be an affirmative defense to a charge of violating paragraph (4) of subsection (a) that the defendant—

(1) possessed less than three matters containing any visual depiction proscribed by that paragraph; and

(2) promptly and in good faith, and without retaining or allowing any person, other than a law enforcement agency, to access any visual depiction or copy thereof—

(A) took reasonable steps to destroy each such visual depiction; or

(B) reported the matter to a law enforcement agency and afforded that agency access to each such visual depiction.

Outcome: The parties have jointly recommended a federal prison sentence of 20 years.

Plaintiff's Experts:

Defendant's Experts:

Comments:

Possession of Child Pornography
by

Kent Morlan



 
 
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