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Chris Bieri, Forum Communications Co., Published February 07 2012

Crookston man accused of stabbing father 2 dozen times

CROOKSTON, Minn. – Jacob Anthony Abel stabbed his father two dozen times in the head and neck while murdering him Sunday night in the Crookston apartment they shared, according to allegations in a criminal complaint filed Tuesday in Polk County District Court.

Abel, 27, is charged with premeditated murder in the first degree and murder in the second degree in the brutal stabbing of his father, Jerome Abel, 58.

According to the criminal complaint, Jacob Abel admitted to authorities that he committed the crime, saying he “was going to be famous.”

He continued to behave strangely in court Tuesday. At one point he blurted out a homosexual slur and said to himself, “I’m going to die. You’re going to die, Jake.” Later, as he exited the courtroom, he looked toward the public seating area and said, “Look at me, I was on a homicidal spree,” followed by a laugh.

Both his court-appointed defense team – Eric Gudmundson of Euclid and Michael LaCoursiere, who works out of Red Lake Falls – and prosecutor Scott Buhler expressed doubt over his mental competency.

Judge Kurt J. Marben ordered a Rule 20 psychological examination at the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter.

The complaint describes the gruesome scene police found in apartment E206 at 1500 N. Broadway, with Jerome Abel lying face down in a pool of blood on the floor and blood splattered on the walls and ceiling. A couch was also completely covered with blood.

Police reported that Jacob Abel told them he was upset with his father. He went to the kitchen, got a knife and returned to the living room where he found his father lying on the couch.

The complaint states that he then drove the knife into Jerome Abel’s head. His father tried to fight back and he started stabbing him in the neck.

The doctor who performed the autopsy on Jerome Abel told police a number of the stab wounds would have been fatal by themselves. The tip of the knife was recovered from Abel’s skull, the doctor said.

There were also a number of stab wounds to the hands and arms.

Afterward, police and a neighbor reported that Jacob Abel appeared in the apartment hallway covered in blood and holding a knife. He screamed that he had killed his father.

Police arrested him without incident Sunday night. They interviewed him but he made statements that didn’t make sense. At one point, he became very angry and threatened to kill one of the officers questioning him.

Bail for Abel was set at $500,000 without conditions, $75,000 cash with conditions or $500,000 bond with conditions. While arguing the release conditions, Buhler said, “This is one of the most violent (crimes)” he had ever experienced in his time as a prosecutor. “He’s clearly a danger to the public, if not to himself.”

Among the release conditions were no possession of firearms, random testing and that he can’t return to the apartment he shared with his father.

“The entire apartment will have to be gutted due to the amount of blood inside the apartment,” Buhler said.

Abel appeared to laugh in response.

Buhler notified the court that he was planning to immediately take the case to the grand jury for an indictment. First degree murder can only be charged by grand jury indictment in Minnesota.

Judge Marben said due to the seriousness of the charges, the case will be assigned to a specific judge.

First-degree murder is punishable by up to life in prison. Second degree murder carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison.


Chris Bieri writes for the Grand Forks Herald.