By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
Last summer one of your worst nightmares came true, twice. On the first and last days of August, random shooters were roaming metro-area freeways looking to blast anyone they could get a bead on. Twenty-two-year-old Laura MacPhee was riding in the passenger seat of a car on I-94 near the Marion Street exit in the early morning hours of August 1 when James Lundquist, a 16-year-old from Minneapolis, shot her in the head with a laser-sighted pistol. She died on the way to the hospital a few minutes later.
Dale Westvig was luckier. On August 31 William M. Anderson, 18, a choirboy and born-again Christian from Roseville, pulled alongside Westvig's vehicle on I-35W and began firing at him with a rifle. The bullets missed him by inches.
Neither of the young men had ever laid eyes on their victims. Both chose the no man's land of the freeway as the venue for their actions, and both were arrested shortly after the shootings. But the resemblance ends there.
Raised in poverty by a mentally ill mother, Lundquist was no choirboy. According to Dinkytowners who observed him at the sandwich counter where he worked, he made a studied effort to appear satanic. Looking like an artist's conception of a goateed devil was one of the few things at which he succeeded.
In custody after the shooting, Lundquist was utterly remorseless and unable to even feign contrition. He lied about his involvement in MacPhee's death until he was backed into a corner, then made a pathetic attempt to "play crazy." No one but his mom had a good word to say about him in court, and his extensive rap sheet spoke for itself. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Anderson, by contrast, grew up in a stable, suburban, middle-class home. A skilled networker and a glib, self-assured speaker, he led musical church services for young people at North Heights Lutheran Church in Roseville and volunteered with several organizations, one of which addresses juvenile-crime issues.
All that and more was pointed out to the court on Anderson's behalf. Leaders of his church organized an outpouring of support. Elected officials wrote letters to the judge. And a Roseville police report that might have made a crucial difference in the way Anderson was charged was never brought to the attention of prosecutors.
Anderson ultimately admitted his crime, but fudged his responsibility with two key evasions that were accepted uncritically. He made an eloquent plea for mercy in the courtroom and received a slap on the wrist. He is serving two years in prison with a year's probation when he's released.
Anyone who had the misfortune to be locked up in the Ramsey County jail last September would have been treated to a pretty bizarre show even by the standards of that venue. Lundquist, known in prison as "I-94," was laboring under the delusion that if he acted crazy he would serve a mere five years in a psych ward. He told his cellmate that the psych ward is a pretty cool place. "I can do what I want there," the cellmate said he told him, "and my girlfriend can bring me weed."
By day, when the two-man cells of the Adult Detention Center were open, Lundquist put on his act. His concept of insanity was apparently modeled on the behavior of monkeys in a zoo. He hopped on tables and climbed the cell bars, jabbering unintelligibly. Sometimes he paced back and forth, muttering to himself.
But when he was locked up the show was over, and Lundquist's true pathology emerged. "I'm the one who shot that bitch on the freeway," he allegedly bragged to his cellmate. He recounted the killing in vivid detail, relating how he and his friends were "all riled up and rolling down the highway shooting at people." His cellmate relayed the conversation to police, who placed a transcript of his account in Lundquist's court record.
"We got into it with this guy," the cellmate says Lundquist explained. "We'd speed up when he speeded up, and slow down when he did." "This guy" was a Latin Kings gangster, Lundquist claimed, someone he'd "gotten into it with before." (According to Eric Johnson, the assistant Ramsey County attorney who prosecuted Lundquist, there is no evidence that Laurens Matton, the driver of the car in which MacPhee was riding, has any gang affiliation or had ever crossed paths with Lundquist.)
The cellmate said Lundquist told him he could hit anything he wanted with the pistol, because he had "a beam on his nine." He said he had the laser dot on the guy at one point, but the guy moved. "So I killed the bitch, which is the next best thing."
The other man, who had been involved in a shooting himself a few years earlier, was incredulous. "You just shot her?" he said. "Why'd you do that?"
"Fuck 'em," was Lundquist's reply. "If I was in my own country I wouldn't go to jail or nothing because killing a bitch is legal there." His cellmate inquired as to the whereabouts of that country, but Lundquist couldn't provide any specifics. It was a land ruled by sheiks, that's all he knew.