Name: Craig D. Holm
Craig Holm’s achievements have been highly recognized in the legal industry. He is a former law enforcement officer with professional experience as an internal investigator, juvenile caseworker, probation officer, and a probation supervisor in Dakota County Community Corrections. Craig has extensive knowledge of the criminal legal system, and specializes in criminal defense, criminal sexual conduct cases, court assessments, dispositional advising, civil surveillance, workman compensation and fraud investigations.
Since establishing InfoPro Legal Resources, Inc. in 2001 he has worked on the successful defense of several high profile cases that have included murder, criminal sexual conduct and federal drug trafficking. In doing so, he has become the “go to” private investigator for many of Minnesota’s most prominent and successful criminal defense attorneys. Craig earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice at St. Cloud University and has post graduate work at Minnesota Mankato in Sociology/Criminal Administration.
Justice for Jack 6-22-10
I met a Hollywood writer, John Bucher Sr., and his son the first part of June. As always, I am skeptical when someone inquires about high profile cases I have worked on. After several phone calls, emails, lawyer consults and a release of information from a former client I decided to sit down with them. We met at a little coffee shop in downtown historic Hastings. From the beginning I liked them because of their genuine personalities and polite demeanor. John had learned of the Jack Nissalke case from Jack's sister Crystal and has since become obsessed with his current situation.
A little background. Jack Nissalke was accused of a murder that was committed in 1985 and only recently been prosecuted. A $50,000 reward offered by the state seemed to spawn several witnesses who could remember little just days after the event but suddenly had epiphanies about what happened some 23 years ago. The Winona County Attorney's Office, the prosecuting entity in the case reopened the matter claiming some farce about "new DNA evidence". What a joke. In short, after 6 weeks of testimony it took a Fillmore County (case was moved because of publicity) jury just 4 hours to come back with a guilty verdict. Ridiculous, it took me some 100+ hours just to READ the documents! It just happened to be the week of the 4th of July, they must have wanted an uninterrupted vacation.
In my previous career as a Probation Officer, Probation Officer Supervisor and for the past 10 years as Criminal Private Investigator I have sat across from 100's of guilty offenders. Some admitted their crimes, others did not and some I thought were railroaded into undeserved plea agreements and not really guilty at all, just let down by a failed system. In my heart of hearts I do not feel that Jack is guilty. I start this, my first blog, as a way to redeem myself in Jack's eyes. I feel I somehow failed him and must make things right. I hope you will visit this site often as I try to help John Bucher with the facts of the case. John is also writing a book entitled "Murder and Deceit" of which the proceeds go to Jack's appeal. You can follow his blog at http://suicidecowboy.wordpress.com/ Stay tuned to hear the rest of the story.
Ming Sen Shiue on Prime Time 6-23-10
I was flicking through channels last night and came across the show Prime TIme. They were doing a piece on Shiue and the kidnapping of Mary Stauffer and her daughter, and the murder of Jason Wilkman. Before I go on, I want you all to know that I am not an advocate for Shiue in the least. His crime was heinous and particularly beyond cruel. I am however and advocate of holding our judicial system accountable and I believe they may have failed in this case.
I had the privilege of meeting Ms. Stauffer, her daughter Beth and husband Irv at the trial. I apologized to them if my testimony was upsetting in any way. They were amazing people; they thanked me for helping them to understand the system and what happened in this case. I tried to answer all the questions they asked but felt inadequate at times. They had such strength and an aura about them, it is difficult to describe.
The reason I mention Prime Time was because they contacted my office and wanted me to go on camera to tell them of my findings. I politely declined but gave the producer all of my sources so they could know what I knew. After watching last night's "show" I wish maybe I would have done it. The segment revolved mainly around the kidnappings/killing, the Stauffer's escape and the Federal and State trials. Shiue actually attacked Mary Stauffer with a knife while she was on the stand. She required 62 stitches on her face. This happened during the State trial.
Without getting into great detail let me jump ahead 30 years. Shiue has been incarcerated under maximum supervision for at least 25 of those years spending most of his time in Leavenworth. Anoka County has the state case and recently became alarmed that Shiue is "eligible" for parole in July of 2010. They began a civil commitment process to incarcerate Shiue as a predatory dangerous sexual offender. As a part of their criteria for the civil commitment they say Shiue "refused" sex offender treatment. That was where I came in.
Rick Mattox and I have been working together unconditionally for over 20 years when he was the Chief Public Defender for the First Judicial District and I was a lowly probation officer. I remember Rick as someone who would not back down from a good fight. We have been working together conditionally as Criminal Defense Attorney and Private Investigator since I started my own agency in 2001. We have worked several cases together and I have never turned a case down from Rick, I almost did on this one. Rick had decided to become a panel lawyer for civil commitment cases, this was his first one. Oh boy, he didn't really know what to expect.
I told Rick that I needed to meet Shiue and outline what I thought I could bring to the case before actually accepting it. I also told Rick that if I signed on, he probably didn't want me making any recommendations on this one. It turned out to be a very interesting case. In future blogs I will talk about what we found and my meeting with Shiue.
Rena B. 6-25-10
I read John Bucher's blog today regarding Rena Bambenek. I had the great (not really) pleasure of meeting Rena and interviewing her for about an hour. The Winona County Prosecutor's Office put her up in a little motel in Rushford, MN. about a week before the trial started. Rushford is a tiny town approximately 25 miles Northeast of Preston where the trial was being held. Through a source I tracked her down there. This source told me that was where "they were hiding" her. I didn't understand at the time why they would be "hiding" her. I found out later.
When Rena got on the stand she admitted that she had lied throughout her 24 years of making statements to police. http://www.winonadailynews.com/news/article_22b52cc2-d0c2-5560-b5ab-487b63157787.html She also said that the police recently "helped her' with her repressed memories. The most damaging testimony came when Rena said Jack showed up at her house with a bloody rag wrapped up in his hand about midnight. This revelation didn't come about until after the reward money was offered in 2006. In fact, Rena's original statement days after the murder said it was Ed Bolstad who had come back. She said he dropped off some clothes for him to wash in a brown paper bag.
When I interviewed her on June 3rd, 2009 she couldn't believe I had found her. It was 4:00 p.m. and she was sitting at a picnic table in front of her motel. She was smoking a cigarette and drinking from a very large "big Gulp" plastic cup. It had dark brown liquid in it and there were no ice cubes. After speaking to her for just a few minutes I knew she was intoxicated. I insinuated that she was enjoying a cocktail on this fine afternoon and she became defensive and told me that she was “in recovery” and that was her iced tea. We had several different conversations, one of which involved her memory or lack of it and how her stories had changed so dramatically over the years. Bambenek said that because the murder was such a traumatic event that she had suppressed memories. She described it as having something in the back of your mind that was so horrible that you didn’t want to let it out. She said somehow, while being interrogated by the police, the memories have come back. Nothing that $50,000 couldn't cure. I left after some small talk about the beautiful area she grew up in and the health of her daughter who was in another state. She told me she was more concerned about how her daughter was doing than the upcoming trial.
Two days later Prosecutor MaClean tried to stymie my investigation by accusing me of witness tampering. http://www.winonadailynews.com/news/local/article_eb95a7d0-ca92-11de-8577-001cc4c03286.html?mode=story
Nothing came of it but it was MaCleans dirty way of muddying the waters and trying to intimidate me from doing anymore snooping. Just another backhanded tactic to take the focus off of the truth that Rena would say whatever the prosecution wanted. How does a police interogation bring back "repressed memories". Why, after 23 years do they come back now, 50,000 reasons. If Jack had a cut of some kind, wouldn't the police have noted that during their initial interviews with him? There is not one shred of evidence he was at Rena's that night. No one at that party saw Jack leave that entire night, but several other people left. http://www.winonadailynews.com/news/local/article_b8c55da8-e47a-11de-bcd5-001cc4c002e0.html
I will touch on Ed Bolstad's motive and give a timeline of his actions that night next post.
Not Guilty for Jared Britton 7-17-2011
Another close one. Jared Britton, former Stout University hockey player and student was found not guilty in the murder of Bradley Simon last week. When I first met Jared in September of 2010 I instantly felt this great kid would be in the fight of his life. I told him hiring Earl Gray was the best thing he could have done and that Gray would battle to the end and is not afraid of a system that convicts people in the media without all the facts.
On this one, my first course of investigation was to immediately attempt to interview the other hockey players involved. Unfortunately one of the players father's, who was an attorney from out of state happened to be friends with Jed McGlasson's family. He immediately advised the players (along with coach Watdkins) to not speak with anyone. LOCKJAW.
I was able to briefly interview the state's star witness, J.D. Kuehn the bouncer at the Logjam. He was sure Jared had pushed Simon yet he could not describe what he was wearing or who the other people on site may have been. He said something to the effect that he knew that eye witnesses only remember about 80% of what they see. I did get him to admit that he could have been mistaken about who pushed the bike. Kuehn changed his testimony 6 times over the course of the past 9 months. Thank God for sworn depositions in civil cases.
More on this one in the future and what may have led to the not guilty verdict