Aaron Beaulieu guilty in murder of William Nickaboine

Aaron Beaulieu, one of two men accused of brutally killing fellow Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe member William Nickaboine in 2010, has been convicted on two counts of felony murder.

We first wrote about the murder in our November cover story, "The Banishing." A civilian search party discovered Nickaboine's body behind the reservation's waste water treatment plant. A knife was found in a ditch nearby, and an autopsy showed Nickaboine had been beaten, cut, and burned.

Witnesses told police they had seen a fight between Beaulieu, Boyd, and Nickaboine, according to charges. In the process, a knife fell out of Nickaboine's pocket that matched the description of the knife found near the crime scene.

Mille Lacs Messenger editor Brett Larson attended the trial, and has chronicled the graphic details of the case as they've been recounted in the courtroom. Larson writes:

By the time he was found by a search party of Band members almost a week later, the body had begun to decompose. [The prosecutor] painted a gruesome picture of Nickaboine's burned legs and "leathery" torso, with maggots teeming around the eyes and mouth and the right side of Nickaboine's head, where he may have been cut during the beating.

In addition to the two felony murder counts, Beaulieu was found guilty of third- and fifth-degree assault, according to the Messenger. He was found not guilty on one count of intentional murder.

  • COVER: The Banishing
  • William Nickaboine's murder: More than a year later, still no conviction
  • Cody St. John's case against attackers still ongoing

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