Road Kill

Their cars were moving when James Lundquist and William Anderson opened fire on strangers. But was anyone at the wheel?

None of the members of the review team responded to the questions. But Dziedzic did say the information about Anderson's August 7 threat to "kill everyone" was not made available to Lennon, and might have influenced her decision if it had been. (When City Pages requested the investigative report on that incident, Roseville Police claimed it was not public information because it resulted in a mental-health referral. They referred inquiries to Roseville City Attorney Caroline Beckman, who provided the report after a considerable delay.)

Once Anderson had been charged, the wheels of justice started turning. Bail was set at $200,000 and Anderson's father did what any concerned parent would do: He obtained legal counsel for his son and found other people to support him.

"There was quite a large effort on Mr. Anderson's behalf," says Judge Mary Steenson, who accepted his guilty plea on October 27 and sentenced him two months later. "There were a number of letters from members of his church. There was one from the mayor of Falcon Heights, and other officials. It was an unusual number of letters, especially from the church members."

When asked whether she was swayed by the lobbying effort, Steenson says she read the letters with great interest. "This kind of case causes me a lot of concern," she says. "This is a young man who was very active in church and a good community member in many respects, but there were many things in his life that were very alarming. I had to weigh the positive and the negative and make a decision. The letters helped me see a more complete picture of a person, but we pretty much went with the [sentencing] guidelines. I didn't have to go along with the proposed sentence, but they had talked to the victim in the case and my understanding was that he was all right with it."

According to Westvig, Steenson misunderstood. "They kept telling me they couldn't prove he was out to get me," he says, "so what choice did I have? I still don't see how he got off so easy. The gun was in his vehicle, the lead was in mine. What else do they need?"

Steenson says she was aware that Anderson passed a breath test after his arrest, and that "it wasn't the kind of reading that would make you think he was blacked out."

But when Steenson accepted Anderson's guilty plea, she didn't challenge his version of events. "Do you recall when you were operating that motor vehicle that you fired shots at another motor vehicle?" she asked. "No," he replied. "Do you not recall that because of the use of alcohol?"--"Yes."

At his sentencing two months later, Anderson told the judge: "We live in a society faced with a growing crime rate and a deadening sense of community." He said the low point of his life occurred when he realized he was part of the problem. He recapitulated his extensive community involvement. He claimed to understand that he had a debt to pay to society, but suggested it would be better paid if he could continue his good works on probation.

Steenson sentenced him to the statutory minimum of three years, with a stipulation that two years be spent in prison. The third year will be on supervised release. A Ramsey County judge, who tried Anderson on charges stemming from shooting into the home in Little Canada, gave him three years to be served concurrently.

On the surface, Bill Anderson and James Lundquist appear to have vastly different characters. But maybe not. In Greek tragedy, character is fate, and fate has thrown the two of them together. Both are serving time in the St. Cloud prison now. They even have the same prison social worker, Ken Kulla, who told City Pages it would be impossible to interview either of them for the time being.

"Mr. Lundquist is still in orientation," says Kulla, "and he can't participate in normal activity until that's over. Mr. Anderson, I'm afraid, is indisposed for the next little while." He refused to elaborate, but former prisoners say that means Anderson is either in solitary confinement or on suicide watch.

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