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The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday denied the appeal of a man who committed a mass shooting inside Buffalo's Allina Health Clinic three years ago, killing a medical assistant and wounding four staffers in a brazen attack that involved gunfire and pipe bombs.

Gregory Paul Ulrich, 70, is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole after a Wright County jury convicted him in 2022 of all 11 felony charges, including the premeditated first-degree murder of Lindsay Overbay, 37. Ulrich argued that extensive media coverage made a fair trial impossible and that Wright County District Court abused its discretion by denying his request to strike a juror who read about the shooting and Overbay's slaying.

But the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously upheld Ulrich's convictions in a ruling Wednesday, two weeks after the three-year anniversary of the mass shooting on Feb. 9, 2021.

In the 21-page ruling written by Justice G. Barry Anderson, the high court found that the district court allowed Ulrich to renew his request to change venues, which he did not do. Because of this, Ulrich forfeited his appellate review of the issue after the district court concluded "the horrific nature of the events and widespread reporting throughout Minnesota of those events made a change of venue likely ineffective."

Justices also ruled that Ulrich's defense attorneys failed to use a peremptory challenge to remove the juror in question. The Supreme Court found that the juror did not express bias when asked at length whether he could set aside what he read in the news. The juror said that his mother-in-law was a nurse at the hospital where Overbay died. While he said it wouldn't be easy, the juror said he would keep an open mind.

Ulrich testified at trial in his own defense, saying that he didn't intend to kill anyone. In the appeal, he argued there was insufficient evidence to support premediated first-degree murder.

But Anderson wrote that "it is unreasonable to conclude that Ulrich did not premeditate the murders and intend to kill the victims" when considering the circumstances and facts of the case.

Less than two months before the shooting, Ulrich recorded cellphone videos with statements about how persons denied oxycodone should "kill as many nurses as you can."

This booking photo released by the Wright County, Minn., Sheriff's Office shows Gregory Paul Ulrich who was arrested Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, following a shooting at a health clinic in Buffalo, Minn.
This booking photo released by the Wright County, Minn., Sheriff's Office shows Gregory Paul Ulrich who was arrested Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, following a shooting at a health clinic in Buffalo, Minn.

Wright County Sheriff's Office

Ulrich had been in severe pain for more than four years after surgery on his spine and tailbone and grew angry that he couldn't get narcotic drugs to relieve his pain. Authorities suspected him of abusing opioids and cut him off.

He traveled to the clinic, armed with a 9-millimeter handgun, ammunition and four pipe bombs.

On the witness stand, Ulrich said he planned on property damage by blowing up some bombs and shooting victims in the buttocks. But upon entering the clinic, he "wanted to sensationalize more" to send a louder message and "get people's attention," he testified.

Anderson said Ulrich shot several victims multiple times and at close range. Despite Ulrich arguing in his appeal that he attempted to render aid because he called 911, Anderson ruled that Ulrich set off three bombs after placing that call.

"...[T]he call to 911 was only after he had attempted to lure more victims into a trap by pretending that he needed help," Anderson wrote.

Also wounded in the attack were clinic workers Sherry Curtis, Antonya Fransen-Pruden, Jennifer Gibson, and Tamara Schaufler.

Wright County Attorney Brian Lutes said in a statement Wednesday that the Minnesota Supreme Court ruling "ensures that Ulrich will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole."

"I extend my thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Lindsay Overbay, the other shooting victims, and all the medical providers and patients at the clinic on February 9, 2021, who were impacted by this horrific act of violence. I thank my law enforcement partners and paramedics who entered the clinic with extreme courage to arrest Ulrich and render care to the shooting victims. Lives were saved because of the bravery of law enforcement and paramedics."