The ex-sheriff of Chisago County, charged with stalking and threatening a female employee, was offered a plea deal with no jail time, court records show.
Rick Duncan resigned in the summer of 2018, one day after admitting to investigators that he was behind a bizarre scheme in which he allegedly wrote threatening letters to a female crime analyst who worked in the Sheriff’s Office.
Duncan told the woman that he had received letters from someone calling themselves “Control Freak” who wanted to control her and the sheriff, according to the criminal complaint.
One letter directed the woman to go with Duncan to a training course in Bemidji and stay overnight with him in a hotel room with a single king-size bed. If the two didn’t follow the instructions, they risked harm to both their families, according to the complaint.
Nearly two years after Duncan was charged with stalking and threats of violence — both felonies — and a gross misdemeanor charge of misconduct of a public employee, his case still hasn’t come to trial.
Court records reveal that prosecutors have offered Duncan a plea deal that would allow him to avoid jail time and possibly escape a felony conviction, as well.
In a recently revealed transcript of a court hearing last year, Anoka County prosecutor Kurt Deile laid out the terms of a deal under which Duncan would plead guilty to the felony threat of violence charge. The other felony and the misdemeanor charge would be dropped.
Duncan would receive three years’ probation and a stayed imposition of sentence, meaning that his felony conviction could be reduced to a misdemeanor if he successfully completed probation.
Such a sentence would be within the rules of the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission, which say that a stay of imposition is acceptable “for offenders who are convicted of lower severity offenses and who have low criminal history scores.”
Duncan rejected the offer, the hearing transcript shows, with his attorney saying Duncan was holding out for dismissal of both felony charges and would be willing to plead guilty to the misdemeanor.
Duncan’s attorney, Frederic Bruno, did not return a call seeking comment.
A pretrial hearing on the case is scheduled for Oct. 22 in Anoka County District Court.
John Reinan • 612-673-7402