MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 35-year-old Deer River man is accused of decapitating a man who allegedly raped his girlfriend, according to charges filed in Itasca County.
Joseph Christen Thoresen faces one felony charge of second-degree murder in connection to the June 21 incident.
According to the criminal complaint, at 11:56 p.m. on June 24 an officer observed a vehicle traveling in Deer River with an obstructed license plate and a passenger not wearing a seat belt.
When the officer tried to stop the vehicle, the vehicle fled, approaching speeds of over 90 mph before losing control and driving into a ditch. However, the vehicle drove out of the ditch and fled north on County Road 128 for about six miles before sliding into another ditch. The driver and passenger then exited the vehicle.
The driver, only identified as T.M.C., fled into the woods, was located a nearby house and arrested. Thoresen, the passenger, was ordered by gun point to the ground, placed into handcuffs and later released.
T.M.C. later told an officer that Thoresen pulled a knife in the vehicle and forced him to flee the officer. T.M.C. then stated that Thoresen told him that he had killed the owner of the vehicle several days earlier. He said Thoresen said he killed him by hitting him over the head with a baseball bat, stabbing him in the lungs with a machete and cutting off his head. He said Thoresen said he then dragged his body into the woods, the complaint said.
Authorities later learned that the suspect vehicle is owned by 20-year-old David Alexander Haiman of Hibbing, who was reported missing to the Hibbing Police Department.
On June 26, investigators went to Thoresen’s apartment in Grand Rapids. There, Thoresen denied having any contact with Haiman, but evidence from his phone showed the two had a text conversation on June 20. He was then arrested and taken to jail.
An investigator then located Thoresen’s girlfriend, identified only as K.D.G., sleeping in a bedroom. She allegedly told the investigator a similar story to T.M.C.’s, saying that Thoresen killed Haiman, cut his head off and threw it in the woods.
K.D.G. then told the investigator that the killing took place near the Ball Club area, which is located west of Deer River. There on the same day, authorities discovered Haiman’s torso at 9:30 a.m. and his head at 10:30 a.m.
According to K.D.H., before the killing, Thoresen told her that Haiman was coming over and that she was upset because Haiman raped her in their bedroom. When Haiman arrived, she said she punched him and that he agreed to be tied up and beat up. She said she then tied him up, punched him in the face – breaking his nose – and kicked him in the gut. She said she then untied him, and Thoresen then punched him and repeatedly told him that he should not have raped “my girl”, the complaint said.
K.D.H. then said that they talked about “scoring some bud” and they all left in Haiman’s car with Thoresen driving. During their trip, she said they smoked some bud with some people in Deer River, drove to Ball Club and smoked meth. Then, while driving around the woods, she said Haiman was calling them “worthless pieces of s—t”, called her a “slut” and that Thoresen and Haiman argued.
According to the criminal complaint, K.D.H. said there was car trouble and that Thoresen got out and opened the hood. Haiman also got out and they argued more. Then, K.D.H. said she heard a loud thud and saw Thoresen stab Haiman multiple times. She said she tried to stop him. As Haiman lay on the ground groaning and asking for her, Thoresen grabbed a large knife from Haiman’s belt loop and cut off his head. She then said that it was “not my Joe.”
If convicted, Thoresen faces up to 40 years in prison. Bail has been set at $2 million without conditions and $1 million with conditions. His next court appearance is set for July 5 at 9 a.m.