Plea Deal Negotiations Led To Discovery Of Wetterling Remains

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — WCCO has learned that the stunning developments in the Jacob Wetterling case are the direct result of plea deal negotiations between federal prosecutors and Danny Heinrich’s attorneys that have been happening for months.

Legal experts say this kind of a plea deal in such a notorious murder case is unprecedented, and would only happen with the full support of the Wetterling family.

On the edge of the Paynesville area farm where Danny Heinrich led authorities to Jacob Wetterling’s remains, mourners have left flowers. While the case is now a murder investigation, the Wetterlings are now beginning to get answers, though they say it’s an incredibly painful conclusion to a case that spanned decades.

Danny Heinrich is in jail and awaiting a trial set to begin next month on 25 counts of child pornography. Legal analysts say it’s a rock solid case that will likely send him to prison for the rest of his life. No one directly involved in the plea negotiations would comment with WCCO on the record, but legal experts say the only thing prosecutors would be able to offer Heinrich is relief on the location of his incarceration.

Joe Friedberg is a prominent criminal defense attorney in the Twin Cities, though he’s not affiliated with the case. He says criminals involved in child molestation or pornography are often targets of beatings and sexual assaults in prisons.

“There’s a place in Florence, Colorado — it’s not the highest security, but it’s secure enough — where an awful lot of people guilty of possessing child pornography are going,” Friedberg said. “That’s a place where he could probably go and be safe.”

Friedberg says whatever the terms of the deal, Heinrich would end up with a virtual life sentence.

“This clearly was well thought out. [Heinrich’s] lawyers are the best around,” he said. “Andy Luger, as the United States Attorney, has great facility for putting things in perspective and handling things with consideration for all parties.”

Heinrich’s lead attorney is Katherine Roe, the Chief Public Defender in Minnesota Federal District Court. Sources tell WCCO Heinrich could appear in court as soon as tomorrow to plead guilty. It’s not yet clear what exactly he would plead guilty to, but any guilty plea in the case would likely include Heinrich telling the court exactly what happened that day in 1989.

Legal experts say there is absolutely no chance the US Attorney’s office would agree to a reduced sentence as part of the plea deal. On the child pornography case alone, 53-year-old Heinrich will most likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.

More from Esme Murphy
Comments

One Comment

  1. There is a special place in HELL for monsters like him!!

  2. Fred says:

    This only gets you 5 – 7 years in Minneapolis. What’s the big deal here?

  3. Dan Mack says:

    If we can get Danny Heinrich back in the Socialist Minnesota Village Dayton will provide the best treatment money can buy in one of his luxury $130,000 plus/year retirement homes for sexual predators. These people are sick and we provide treatment, not punishment for sick people. Thankfully people like Danny can now legally marry young boys at 15 or 16 to have sex with them here in the Village.

  4. Lee Stensrud says:

    Castrate the slimeball!
    With a rusty, dull knife!

  5. memphisgrass says:

    Prominent local attorney says Heinrich’s lawyers are the best around.

    Say what.

  6. Scott from Minneapolis says:

    Reading the details of Jacob’s last hours will haunt me forever…nobody could be prepared for that, and I don’t know how the Wetterlings find the strength. This Heinrich guy needs to go to a bad place where bad things will happen to him every day.

  7. Jim in MN says:

    I’d like to see an escape gone bad. No problem here with the outcome.

  8. k says:

    LIFE IN PRISON WITH NO PAROLE EVER, NO PLEA DEALS FOR ANYTHING..THIS MAN IS A SEDUCTIVE MANIPULATING MURDERER. IN THE PLEA DEAL HE SHOULD HAVE GOT MINIMUM OF 27YRS FOR KEEPING A 27 YR SECRET AND PROBABLY HARMING OTHERS..MANY MORE THAN WHAT IS PORTRAYED. HESHOULD NOT BE GIVEN ANY SPECIAL JAIL LOCATION PRIVELEGES, RATHER PUT IN REGULAR PRISON POPULATION…INMATES DONT LIKE CHILD MOLESTERS/CHILD MURDERERS…THEY WOULD TAKE CARE OF HIM..WHY DOES JUDICIAL SYSTEM PROTECT THESE INDIVIDUALS..AND ALWAYS DO..THEY RUIN PEOPLES LIVES FOREVER.. HE SHOULD HAVE TO DO HARD LABOR EVERYDAY AND NEVER LET OUT…THESE PEOPLE CAN NEVER EVER BE REHABILITATED..THEY WILL REOFFEND!!! AND THEY SHOULD BE CASTRATED LIKE THEY DID IN OLD DAYS. AND ANY OFFICIAL THAT DOESNT START LISTENING TO VICTIMS AND DO THEIR JOBS SHOULD BE DISCIPLINED SEVERELY. I’M SURE IF IT WAS ONE OF THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS EITHER HAVING BEEN ASSAULTED OR MURDERED..THINGS WOULD BE DIFFERENT AND CHANGES MADE. WITH THE RECENT EXONERATION OF INMATES..THESE ARE THE TYPES THAT TAX PAYERS DOLLARS SHOULD ENSURE THAT NEVER SEEN NOTHING BUT 4 WALLS AND A CEILING. NO TV,, NO COMPUTER ACCESS, NOTHING. BUT A BOOK…THE BIBLE. AND HARD LABOR LIKE THE OLD CHAIN GANGS..NOT PLUSH JOBS.

  9. he can be a catholic priest when he gets out

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