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Crossbow Murder: ‘... when you love someone, you don’t murder them.’

DETROIT LAKES - "You said you loved my sister, but when you love someone, you don't murder them." Those were the words spoken by Karen Woessner to the man who killed Geraldine Kading of Dent last year when he shot two arrows into her chest with a...

David Lee Stensrud

DETROIT LAKES - “You said you loved my sister, but when you love someone, you don’t murder them.”

Those were the words spoken by Karen Woessner to the man who killed Geraldine Kading of Dent last year when he shot two arrows into her chest with a crossbow.

David Lee Stensrud, 58, of Detroit Lakes was sentenced to 38 and a half years in prison last week in Becker County District Court for Kading’s death. It is the maximum penalty allowed in a second-degree murder conviction.

District Judge Joe Evans handed down the sentence, which stipulates two-thirds of the sentence will be done in prison, the other third served through supervised release.

The sentence was the result of a plea deal struck last month in which Stensrud admitted to killing Kading in his downtown Detroit Lakes apartment because he “wanted to be with her in heaven.”

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Kading was 69 years old and had befriended Stensrud a few years prior to her death, along with her husband of 55 years. According to court reports, when Kading’s husband passed away, she became closer to Stensrud, a convicted sex offender who was reportedly “looking for a second chance.”

Although Kading was willing to give him that, he was unwilling to let her live when Kading’s family objected to their relationship.

Stensrud testified earlier that he called Kading up to his apartment upon realizing he may not be able to continue the relationship with her.

He told the court he “took a bunch of pills” before taking his crossbow and shooting two arrows into her chest, then shooting an arrow into his own chest.

Stensrud claims he doesn’t remember actually killing Kading, but it’s a claim that mattered little to her grieving family. A handful of them had the opportunity to address Stensrud at the sentencing.

“In life there are two kinds of people – givers and takers,” said Kading’s son, Richard Kading, who called his mother a giver who always gave to her children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren, and to her husband.

“But you, Mr. Stensrud, are a taker,” he said. “You took away her life for your own want and greediness. She wanted to be here; you took away those weddings, graduations, births of more grandchildren. I do have some peace in knowing you will eventually have to answer to God for this senseless murder and taking her away from us.”

Although Stensrud cried in his seat during some of the family’s statements, Becker County Attorney Gretchen Thilmony pointed out that throughout the case, Stensrud had continually tried to manipulate the situation through testimony designed to evoke pity.

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“And he deserves no pity,” said Thilmony.

Stensrud also took the opportunity to speak, apologizing again for “what happened.”

“It would have been better for me to die instead of her,” said Stensrud. “If there was a way for me to take lethal injection in this state, I would, but my attorneys tell me they don’t have that in Minnesota, so we all just have to move on. I still love everybody; I don’t hate nobody.”

Before handing down the sentence, Evans also took the opportunity to speak to Stensrud, pointing out the fact that while he would certainly have that opportunity to “move on,” Geraldine Kading would not.

“You have left a terrible hole in the hearts of her loved ones,” said Evans. “I hope the sentence can give them at least some closure, but I also know that it cannot replace her.”

Evans denied the defense attorney’s request for contact visits with a pastor that Stensrud is close to, per jail regulations.

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By Paula Quam, Forum News Service.

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