By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A convicted killer questioned just last month in the disappearance of Jacob Wetterling spoke out Tuesday from prison.

Tips about 83-year-old Delbert Huber have been coming into law enforcement since WCCO-TV aired stories about a series of unsolved sexual assaults on boys in Paynesville two years before Wetterling was kidnapped.

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Paynesville is about 30 miles from St. Joseph, where Wetterling was abducted nearly 25 years ago. Huber is from Paynesville.

He was convicted of murdering a teacher in an argument over $50,and he will spend the rest of his life in prison. His 48-year-old son, Tim, was also convicted in that murder.

The elder Huber is currently in the geriatric unit at Faribault Correctional Facility. He is angry that tips continue to come into law enforcement about him and about his son. He denies that either of them had anything to do with the Wetterling case.

And when asked if he had a role in the Paynesville assaults, he said, “No, and [Tim] didn’t either.”

Huber says that over the years he and his son have confronted both rumors and questions about Wetterling’s abduction. Huber says Tim Larson — the man he and his son were convicted of murdering — accused them in a letter and in person of being involved in the abduction.

“We were home,” Huber said. “We didn’t have nothing to do with it.”

He says that Stearns County deputies first came to his farm back in 1989 to ask questions. He says that was the first time he’d ever heard of the Wetterling case.

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Some tips have suggested that pictures of Huber bear a passing resemblance to sketches of possible suspects in the Wetterling case. One sketch was made with the help of a 12-year-old boy who was kidnapped nine months before Wetterling in nearby Cold Spring.

In the Wetterling case, the Cold Spring case and the Paynesville cases, the attacker is described as having a low, raspy voice and he reportedly threatened to shoot each of his victims.

That’s a threat Huber admits he dished out often.

“I should have shot the ones that owe me money,” he said on Tuesday.

And what of those tips that continue to come in? Huber said “jealousy” motivates people to call in tips against him.

“The people of Paynesville are all nuts,” he added.

In a statement, Patty Wetterling, Jacob’s mother, said she wanted anyone with information about the Hubers or any other suspect to come forward.

“We are still asking for any information that could tie [the Hubers] to Jacob’s case or rule them out,” she said. “We want all victims to come forward.”

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Stearns County officials did not return phone calls Tuesday on their investigation into Huber and his son. In the past, they’ve said they are pursing fresh leads not only on Huber, but on other possible suspects as well.

Esme Murphy