He admitted to drinking and driving on at least two different occasions, and was involved with two break-ins at Paynesville businesses.
His first DWI came in 1982 when he was 19. Heinrich told a judge he was working in Willmar at the Jennie-O Plant at the time, but was living in Paynesville. He also said he was in the Minnesota National Guard after dropping out of high school in the 11th grade.
Maj. Scott Hawks confirmed Heinrich’s service with the National Guard, which was from February 1982 until November 1991. Hawks says Heinrich reached the rank of specialist, and was honorably discharged.
Heinrich was in trouble again in 1984 for breaking into two Paynesville businesses. He said he was looking for cash after he lost money in a gambling game.
He got another DWI in 1986 – just three years before Wetterling’s kidnapping. He blew a .17, and then tried to run from the arresting officer. He also punched and kicked the officer to try to get away.
All of these charges were misdemeanors.