The Pine County Sheriff’s Department has announced that they are looking for a dangerous fugitive. Jesse Michael Ericson has been found guilty of kidnapping, and has escaped supervised release, but a closer look at the criminal complaint reveals an even more disturbing story.
In 2012, Ericson used a “go-between” to make arrangements for a meeting with a hit-man. In meetings with the hit man, Ericson repeatedly stated that he wanted the man to kill his ex-girlfriend who lived in Braham. Ericson agreed to pay $150,000 to have this service rendered. Luckily, it turned out that this “hit-man” was actually an undercover officer working for the East Central Drug and Violent Offenders Task Force and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, (BCA.) The task force videotaped and audiotaped all of these meetings. After giving the undercover officer a photograph of the intended victim and a map of her home, Ericson gave him $100 as a down payment on the agreed- upon fee. Ericson stated that after they kidnapped her, he would be able to force her to turn over all of her investments and would then give the hit man the remainder of the fee. At this point, police felt that they had enough to arrest Ericson.
According to the criminal complaint, Ericson vacillated between several plans. One was to kidnap his ex-girlfriend, force her to turn over her 401 K, her IRA, and her home to him, and then to have her killed. The other plan was to have her kidnapped and then kept in his home chained- up as a sex-slave. He also suggested that even though he didn’t want to leave any kind of paper trail which might get him arrested, he kind of wanted to be there when she was killed because he wanted to do at least part of the killing himself.
Ericson was charged on May 1st, 2012 with three counts of Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping. He posted bail in the amount of $500,000 on June 14th and was supposedly tracked via a GPS ankle bracelet and the supervision of a probation officer. This bail was set under certain conditions, and included Ericson signing a no-contact order with his ex-girlfriend.
Yet even under supervision, Ericson continued to stalk the woman. Ericson’s father informed the woman that Ericson was gaining information about her from people who lived in her neighborhood whom he had convinced to conduct surveillance on her. Ericson somehow managed to gain contact to her cell phone information so that he could monitor information related to her calls, and despite a Harassment Restraining Order that was issued on April 2nd, 2012, the victim continued to receive calls and text messages from him.
A case such as this makes one question the efficacy of our court system. Some would say it is debatable whether Ericson should have been eligible for bail, even under the conditions of a no-contact order and GPS surveillance. The arguments for probation and parole instead of jail time revolve mainly around money. Our jails and prisons are full, and there’s always the hope, however futile, that someone who is closely supervised will decide to straighten up and fly right to avoid serving real time. If this argument has any validity, it is in the cases of very young criminals, especially those who come from neglectful or abusive homes. These juveniles might possibly grow out of deviant behavior if they are in the care of strong role models who are teaching them how to control their impulses and make better choices.
This was not the case with Jesse Ericson. Ericson is 46 years old, and his rap sheet reveals a sociopath who cared nothing for the rights of others and instead acted only to serve his own pleasure. True to form, Ericson had previously been charged with criminal sexual conduct, violation of an order for protection, domestic abuse and harassment. It should also be noted that Ericson’s crimes were not restricted to one victim. At the time he was charged with kidnapping, he was also facing fraud charges for impersonating a bank officer in the hopes of stealing a home from another ex- girlfriend.
Previously, there were allegations that Ericson had sexual contact with a 16 year old girl in Becker County. In an interview, Ericson attempted to diminish responsibility for the plot, stating that he wasn’t really serious, and he had just said it because he was drunk. It was pointed out to Ericson that this was no temporary flight of fancy, and that he had met with the hit man multiple times and repeated his wish to have the woman kidnapped and possibly killed. At this point, Ericson recanted his excuse and admitted that it was a serious plan, and he had been plotting it for several months.
Originally, Ericson was charged not only with felony kidnapping , but also charges of intent to create great bodily harm, to terrorize, and to hold in involuntary servitude. These charges were dropped as part of a plea bargain. In cases such as this, it should come as no surprise when criminals show a bold disregard for restraining orders, or any other legal orders.
These sociopaths are simply carrying on with business as usual and we are the fools for thinking that they would do otherwise. Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Jesse Michael Ericson should call the Pine County Sheriff’s Office at 320-629-8380.
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