MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A second person has been charged in connection to a fatal shooting in Lino Lakes on Aug. 27.
Melissa Zielinski, 47, has been charged with second degree murder in the death of 22-year-old Karl Mitchel Henderson.
According to the criminal complaint, Lino Lakes police officers responded to a report of a shooting at 6987 West Shadow Lake Drive. When they arrived, the spoke to a man who said he had recently come home from grocery shopping and noticed an unfamiliar black SUV in the driveway.
The man then entered his house, where he found a man and a woman who he did not know. He said he followed them outside and asked what they were doing. In response, the man said effectively “your son stole on me” and “I’ll take you out, too.” He then drove away with the woman.
The owner of the house then went back inside where he found his son, Karl Mitchell Henderson, face down and injured. The first responders reported Henderson had been shot in the abdomen and died.
Several neighbors with Ring surveillance doorbells captured images of the black SUV, which was identified as potentially a GMC Terrain.
While investigating the Henderson’s bedroom, authorities found a Hi-Point 9mm handgun on the floor, which was not known to belong to anyone at the home. DNA test on the gun matched the profile of 43-year-old Nicholas Walter Zielinski. Officers then learned that a woman lived with him and owned a black GMC Terrain.
The father was then shown a photo lineup including Nicholas Zielinski, and identified him as the man who had been in his home.
The officers then spoke to a number of people to identify the woman and owner of the car, and many people said it was Melissa Zielinski, Nicholas Zielinski’s sister, who lives in Sandstone, Minnesota.
The complaint states that officers also obtained cell phone tracking data on the two Zielinski’s phones. On the morning of the shooting, Nicholas Zielinski appeared to leave his home in Duluth, travel to Sandstone and to the area of the shooting. Afterwards, he left, stopped in Sandstone, and continued back to Duluth.
Melissa Zielinski’s phone showed her in the metro area the day of the shooting. She joined Nicholas Zielinski’s phone near the area of the shooting, then went back to Sandstone. There were also several messages on her phone from the day before, which said that she and her brother were going to collect money, and that she had “waited long enough.”
It was later revealed that Melissa Zielinski’s friend had been planning on purchasing a home in Sandstone, but was informed hours before the closing that approximately $4,000 was due in “cash needed to close.” The friend said he supplied the money, but on the morning of the Aug. 28 closing, Melissa Zielinski unexpectedly provided him with $3,000 in cash to offset the amount due.
If convicted, Melissa Zielinski could face up to 40 years in prison.
Nicholas Zielinski was also charged with second degree murder on Sept. 1.