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Cass Lake man arraigned on first-degree manslaughter charges

BEMIDJI - An 18-year-old man was formally charged Monday in the death of Leslie Charles Headbird, 44, who died Thursday in the kitchen of his rural Cass Lake home.

Damion John Gullickson Jr. was arraigned on charges of first-degree manslaughter. Dora Jean Keezer, 29, Gullickson’s girlfriend, was charged with third-degree assault for allegedly injuring a woman in the same fight.

Beltrami County District Judge John Melbye’s courtroom was nearly full as friends and relatives on both sides of the case gathered to hear Gullickson’s and Keezer’s bonds set.

Applause and some cheering broke out when bond for Gullickson was set at $600,000.

He will have to pay a minimum of $30,000 to be released from jail and Keezer will have to come up with $5,000.

Just before setting Gullickson’s bond - twice the amount requested by Beltrami County Attorney Tim Faver - Melbye asked if he had anything to say.

“I don’t know much about this stuff,” said Gullickson, his right eye blackened. “Maybe, just that it shouldn’t be as high.”

According to a statement from Keezer, Gullickson’s girlfriend, outlined in the criminal complaint filed by the Beltrami County Attorney’s Office, Gullickson continued to beat Headbird even after he lost consciousness.

For her part, Keezer allegedly attacked a woman in the home, 1315 Quill Lane SE, causing a broken eye socket and a fractured skull.

Gullickson also allegedly attacked another man in the home, as well as Headbird’s mother, resulting in broken bones for both.

The attack on Headbird and others in the home appears to have been unprovoked, according to the complaint.

Headbird’s mother, Gloria Wind-Headbird, told Leech Lake Tribal Police hours before the death of her son that Gullickson and Keezer were welcome to remain in the home, according to the complaint.

She made that decision about 2:30 p.m. Thursday, when police responded to her complaint that two other people refused to leave the home.

That pair, Leonard Headbird and Tressa Bisonette, were arrested. Bisonette’s 3-year-old son was taken into protective custody, and a breathalyzer showed she had a blood-alcohol concentration of .459.

Gullickson and Keezer told police they would soon be leaving the home, according to the complaint.

Instead, they stayed, and at some point prior to the discovery of Headbird’s body at 6:30 p.m., Gullickson and Keezer allegedly attacked.

The woman who suffered a skull fracture and broken eye socket, allegedly at Keezer’s hands, was able to flee to a neighboring home, from where she called police.

By the time officers arrived, Gullickson and Keezer had left.

The woman who picked them up told investigators the pair had blood on their hands, and was told they’d been in a fight and “hadn’t left anyone standing,” according to the complaint.

Tribal police later responded to reports of a fight at a home in the 100 block of First Street Northwest in Cass Lake. There, Gullickson fought two men after refusing to leave the home, the complaint states.

He later jumped on a moving vehicle in an attempt to stop and steal it.

Shortly after this incident, Gullickson and Keezer were taken into custody.

If convicted, Gullickson faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and a $20,000 fine.

Keezer faces five years in jail and a $5,000 fine.


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