No agreement reached in St. Marie settlement conference
No agreement was reached in the Antonio St. Marie murder case and plans are being made to proceed with a trial.
In a settlement conference July 12 at the Wadena County courthouse, attorneys for the state and the defendant came before Seventh Judicial District Judge Robert Raupp to inform him that they were unable to come to an agreement, which would have avoided a jury trial.
The state is represented by Wadena County attorney Kyra Ladd and Assistant Attorney General David Miller. St. Marie is being defended by court-appointed attorney Malcolm Whynott. St. Marie has been charged in the death of his estranged wife, Margaret St. Marie, on Nov. 7, 2016.
St. Marie allegedly shot his estranged wife in her home on Bryant Ave. SE in Wadena, after holding her at gunpoint, according to the complaint. It stated that Margaret St. Marie’s brother, James Flath, Jr., and a young child were also held at gunpoint but were able to escape.
While police pursued the suspect in a high-speed chase, another officer found Margaret St. Marie dead in the home from a gunshot wound, according to the complaint. Antonio St. Marie was shortly thereafter involved in a head-on crash with another vehicle during a police pursuit. He was held in an out-of-county medical facility due to his injuries before being transferred to the Wadena County Jail.
Prior to the Nov. 7 events, court records show he was arrested and charged with felony domestic assault the week before and booked into the Wadena County Jail. He was released on bail the morning of Nov. 7 with several conditions, including no contact with the victim and no use or possession of firearms.
That morning, Antonio St. Marie posted several comments on Facebook, including one that read “feeling ----ing betrayed beyond belief” along with 33 angry face emojis. A later Facebook post asked “who wants to make a quick $500.”
The defendant, 26, is facing the following counts:
- Count I - Murder in the First Degree (premeditation)
- Count II - Murder in the First Degree (while committing kidnapping)
- Count III - Murder in the First Degree (while tampering with a witness)
- Count IV - Murder in the First Degree (while committing aggravated robbery)
- Count V - Murder in the First Degree (while committing domestic abuse)
- Count VI - Murder in the Second Degree (intentional)
- County VII - Murder in the Second degree (while restrained by a no contact order)
- Count VII - Kidnapping (James Flath Jr.)
- Count IX - Possession of a Pistol by a Prohibited Person
After no agreement was reached, Raupp asked if there were any pre-trial issues to discuss. Whynott indicated that he filed a motion for a change of venue. The state communicated its objections to a change of venue and a motion hearing to decide the matter will be scheduled in late August or early September.
Other pretrial issues discussed included what questions would be on a jury questionnaire before jury selection and initial discussion on a trial date. The prosecution estimated the trial will last about two weeks. No trial date was determined at the settlement conference.