Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
It's been four years, almost exactly, and some may have forgotten. But not those involved.
An armed robbery at the State Bank of Kimball in Saint Augusta has been unsolved since it happened Sept. 8, 2006. Until last week, that is.
Authorities now know who assaulted a bank employee as she arrived to work and forced her, at gunpoint, to open the bank building and let him in; he took an undisclosed amount of money.
At the time, the robber was described as a 5'8" black man, about 20-25 years old. He wore a blue bandana over his face, and a ball cap.
The bank robber was actually a 23-year-old white man from St. Cloud: Jeremy Jason Hull. He wore black makeup at the time of the robbery in order to change his appearance. Smart perhaps, but not smart enough.
Hull ran from the bank after robbing it, and was not caught or identified. In the area, deputies found a plastic bag that contained a blue bandana and a ski mask. It was DNA on these items that now identify Hull as the robber.
At that time, authorities didn't have anything to which they could match the DNA. In the meantime, though, Hull committed and was tried and sentenced for first-degree murder. He now sits in a maximum-security prison, in Oak Park Heights (Stillwater): life without any possibility of parole, for that viscious crime. And the DNA of prisoners is on file.
Bingo, match, and done.
This information, pinning Hull to the robbery, as well as interviews with Hull and witnesses cleared the way for a court trial to convict and sentence him for the 2006 armed bank robbery.
But that won't happen.
Hull will never see the light of day outside of prison. A trial would be costly, and transporting this felon to and from hearings would pose security risks. It therefore was determined by the U.S. Attorney's Office that a trial would not be in the public's interest.
Lewis James Wilczek was a 21-year-old successful young man who owned his own business in Little Falls. He was an Eagle Scout, and college graduate.
By contrast, Jeremy Jason Hull was a high-school dropout, described as a "jokester" with a hot temper, and already had a criminal record.
Wilczek was targeted a number of times by Hull who kept his criminal plans in a notebook.
In September 2006, Hull stole one of Wilczek's vehicles. Wilczek reported the crime, Hull was located, and a chase ensued; but Hull got away.
Hull later stole several thousand dollars from Wilczek in a burglary that was reported to police. Then, on April 29, 2007, Hull called Wilczek and asked him to meet in St. Cloud and he would return $2,500 of that money. Wilczek never returned from that meeting.
The next day, Hull opened two bank accounts in Wilczek's name and transferred $50,000 from Wilczek's bank. He wrote checks for a Harley Davidson motorcycle and for insurance on the motorcycle as well as a policy on Wilczek's truck. He tried to take another $5,000.
Hull finally was caught when Wilzek's sister saw his truck in north St. Cloud. (Wilczek was still missing, and no one but Hull and his girlfriend knew what had happened to him at this point.) Police stopped Hull in Wilczek's truck; Hull was arrested for lying about his identity and for an outstanding warrant in an unrelated case.
Investigation showed that Hull had killed Wilczek, tried to burn his body, and buried the remains, twice. On the same day that he was quickly convicted by a jury, Hull was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. Just two weeks ago (Sept. 13) Hull's second appeal was denied.
Hull's ex-girlfriend, Casey Jo Oldenburg saw the body, helped Hull dig a grave, and didn't report anything to police for nearly a week. She also tampered with evidence. For her part in the crimes, Oldenburg got a sentence of seven years and two months; an appeal has been denied, and she may be eligible for parole in February 2013.