News @ Noon: Stearns County Attorney Explains More On The Process Of Getting Heinrich To Confess
ST. CLOUD - The next big day in the prosecution of Danny Heinrich will be his sentencing on November 21st. The federal judge will be sentencing him to 20 years in a federal prison on one charge of receiving child pornography.
Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall says there shouldn't be any surprises there.
This is an agreement that the judge has already approved, so that agreement is going to be carried out. It's not like there's a question what's going to be happening on November 21st. There's also the process of the transition of him going from a jail, which is where's been, to a prison where he'll live for the next 20 years.
Kendall says, as part of that sentencing, the Wetterlings will have the opportunity to speak and give a victim impact statement.
Kendall explains how it was possible to move the case out of state court system.
The only way that the federal government could even get involved in this was if some element of the crime had passed through interstate commerce. And that's why we talked about the computer, and the fact that he had downloaded child pornography over the internet. That's what gave the federal government jurisdiction.
Kendall says her office agreed to move the case to the federal court in an effort to put more pressure on Heinrich.
Kendall says they began negotiation with Heinrich as soon as he was arrested last fall. However, it was a week ago Monday that they first felt like they had a plea deal they could present to the Wetterling family.
And it was late Monday that we got to the point that we were willing to have that conversation with Patty and Jerry. And then we met with them on Tuesday, and then the attorneys all signed-off on it Tuesday night. And, Wednesday he was out at the site in federal custody and showed us where to look.
Kendall says by late Friday night they had DNA confirmation that it was the remains of Jacob Wetterling that they found at a farmsite outside of Paynesville.
During yesterday's (Tuesday) court hearing Heinrich confessed to abducting, sexually assaulting, and killing 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling in October, 1989. As well as sexually assualting Jared Scheirel earlier that same year in Cold Spring.