Man convicted of stalking faces 2 felonies in Brainerd incident
A man convicted of stalking who has violated restraining orders in the past faces two new felony charges following a domestic assault in Brainerd.
Michael Dean Vanderkooi, 50, Brainerd, is scheduled to appear Nov. 20 in Crow Wing County District Court in Brainerd on two felonies — harassment and domestic assault. The hearing, an omnibus hearing, will address probable cause, determine if the offense was committed and look at the evidence of the case, including discovery materials, per Minnesota court rules.
Vanderkooi, represented by a public defender, was released from custody Sept. 9 on his own recognizance.
The charges stem from a domestic assault reported at 2:50 a.m. Sept. 5 at a Brainerd residence, where the suspect, identified as Vanderkooi, fled in a vehicle. Officers located him near South Ninth Street in Brainerd. Vanderkooi denied anything took place and said the victim made up the allegations about him and another woman so he left her at a bar and went home, the court document stated.
Officers also spoke with the victim, who is known to Vanderkooi, who said they were still in the car when Vanderkooi grabbed her by the neck but she did not need medical attention, the court document stated. When police asked her about the throat grabbing, she demonstrated by putting her thumbs together and then wrapping her hands around the neck. She stated Vanderkooi squeezed her throat hard while screaming at her but she was sure she had not had her airway obstructed or blocked in any way. The officer explained there is a domestic assault statute that covers strangulation and the woman was sure she had not been strangled, just grabbed. The woman had some redness on her neck and when the officer asked her about it she said she did not know.
While in the car, the woman was able to turn the video recording function of her phone on, and recorded part of the assault. She shared it with the officer, as well as her text conversation with him.
In a text conversation with Vanderkooi, the woman told him he’s in trouble and he should not ignore the cops when they show up. In the two video files Vanderkooi was yelling and swearing at the woman, telling her to get out of the car. The video also appears to jerk around and was consistent with when the victim said Vanderkooi grabbed her by the neck.
According to court documents, Vanderkooi was convicted of violating an order for protection in 2011 in Blue Earth County District Court; convicted of stalking with the intent to injure in 2013 in Blue Earth District Court; and convicted of a gross misdemeanor violation of a restraining order in 2018 in Crow Wing County District Court.