CENTER CITY, Minn. (WCCO) — A judge handed down the toughest punishment allowed to a Chisago County man convicted of providing drugs that killed his ex-girlfriend.
Aaron Schnagl was sentenced to 160 months in prison for the third degree murder of 27-year-old Danielle Jelinek. The Oakdale woman was reported missing in December of 2012. Authorities found her body five months later in a swamp not far from Schnagl’s home.READ MORE: Pedestrian Struck, Killed In 2-Vehicle Crash In Crystal; Distraction May Have Been A Factor
There were few dry eyes in court, as one by one, the family of Danielle Jelinek spoke about the energetic young woman.
“Your beautiful life was ended far too soon because of choices and fate,” Danielle’s aunt Julie said.
“We have somehow managed to survive the unmanageable. You were missing for five unbearable months,” Aunt Lynn Bury said.
Her sister, Cory Jelinek, said she longs for her best friend and confidant.
“I would give anything to hug you one last time, to hear you laugh,” she said, “to see your smile light up the room.”
Her mom said she thinks of all the tomorrows Danielle will forever miss.
“We lost our future of Danielle getting married, of having grandchildren. The future of her hugs that took our breath away.”READ MORE: Tyrone Maddox Charged With Murder In Shooting Of Woman In North Minneapolis
When Schnagl had the chance to speak he told the Jelinek family he will always miss Danielle.
“I’m very sorry for your loss and I can’t imagine what you are experiencing but I share in your pain,” Schnagl said.
Schnagl went on to talk about what he called an overreach by investigators and mishandled evidence, and then broke down while talking about missing moments in his 11-year-old daughter’s life.
“There will be no winners here today. This has cost her her innocence at a young age and she was forced to grow up much too quickly,” Schnagl said.
The Jelinek family said the guilty verdict and maximum sentence doesn’t lessen their pain but it does give them some peace.
“We feel that he still didn’t take responsibility for his actions and just continues to blame other people,” Cory Jelinek said.
“We’re just happy with the decision that he got the max sentencing and he should’ve thought of his consequences before he started crying in court about his daughter,” dad Ed Jelinek said.MORE NEWS: Stimulus Check Latest: When Could You See Another Economic Relief Payment?
Schnagl’s attorney, Mel Welch, said he had hoped the judge would be lenient. Schnagl is required to serve two-thirds of his 13 year sentence. He will get credit for the 1,293 days already served.