Anthony Eugene Kruger, 33, the defendant in a Wahpeton murder case, made his initial appearance Monday, Jan. 23.
Kruger, Breckenridge, Minnesota, faces three charges in Richland County District Court. In addition to murder, a class AA felony, there is possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, a class B felony, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, a class C felony.
Based on an investigation conducted by agencies including the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Wahpeton Police Department and the SEMCA Drug Task Force, Kruger allegedly intentionally or knowingly caused the death of another human being. That man was Jeremiah Medenwald, 40, Hankinson, North Dakota.
“On Jan. 16, 2023, officers were dispatched to 11th Street North and Loy Avenue, Wahpeton, where shots were fired,” a criminal complaint states. “Officers found Jeremiah Medenwald with a gunshot wound in the driver’s seat of the vehicle. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead from the gunshot wound.”
Investigation showed that Medenwald was driving the vehicle and a person outside the vehicle fired a gun 15 times at the driver’s side door of the vehicle while it was driving, according to the complaint. One of those shots went through the door and hit Medenwald in the back.
Investigation also showed that Medenwald had been at the Dakota Magic Casino, Hankinson, prior to being in Wahpeton. Security video was used to see that an individual accompanied Medenwald at the casino. Both rode to the casino and left it at approximately 6:35 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16.
“By way of a hand tattoo, comparison photos and a cell phone number known to be associated with the defendant, this other person was identified as Anthony Eugene Kruger,” the complaint states. “Cell phone data shows that the defendant was with Mr. Medenwald at the casino, on the drive back to Wahpeton, and then his cell phone pinged again near the location of the shooting both before and after the shooting took place."
Medenwald was shot at approximately 7:11 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, Daily News previously reported. According to the complaint for murder, an eyewitness description from a passenger who entered the car just prior to the shooting, described the shooter approaching the vehicle. The witness’ description, according to the complaint, was consistent with what Kruger was seen wearing at the casino.
“After Mr. Kruger was taken into custody, he was found in possession of the clothes that were seen by the eyewitness that the shooter was wearing,” the complaint states.
Kruger was arrested Friday, Jan. 20. The Wahpeton Police Department announced Kruger’s arrest shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 21. Kruger was taken into custody in the 1300 block of Third Ave. N., Wahpeton.
“A combined effort and thorough investigation led by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation produced Kruger as a suspect in this matter earlier today,” Wahpeton Police Chief Matthew Anderson said. “Officers were able to locate Kruger and take him into custody without incident. Multiple agencies started this investigation with the intent to seek justice for Jeremiah Medenwald and closure for his family.”
In addition to the previously-named agencies, others participating in the investigation included the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Drug Enforcement Administration and North Dakota State and Local Intelligence Center, Anderson said.
On Monday, Jan. 16, after the shooting, Medenwald’s vehicle came to a stop across from the Stern Sports Arena. Medenwald was identified outside the vehicle, the Wahpeton Police Department stated.
“They began lifesaving measures and Medenwald was transported to CHI St. Francis Medical Campus, Breckenridge,” Daily News previously reported. “It was there that Medenwald was pronounced deceased.”
Stern Sports Arena is located in a neighborhood with Wahpeton High School, Wahpeton Middle School, Circle of Nations School and several apartment complexes. Lockdown procedure and evacuation of youth athletes and their families took place alongside the initial response to the shooting, Daily News previously reported.
Kruger was brought into the Wahpeton Police Department on Friday, Jan. 20 as a suspect in the death of Jeremiah Medenwald. According to another complaint, when he was searched at the department, Kruger was allegedly found in possession of five small Ziploc bags totaling three grams. The bags all contained a white crystal substance believed to be methamphetamine. Kruger also allegedly had a digital scan with residue on it and 10 small empty Ziploc baggies.
“The quantity of methamphetamine and other items are indicative of sales of methamphetamine,” the complaint states.
Finally, the multi-agency investigation stated that Kruger allegedly had a firearm in his possession or control less than five years after the date he was released from probation on a felony offense.
“On or about Jan. 5, 2023, the defendant sold a .22 pistol, model 422, to (an individual) in the city of Wahpeton,” a third complaint states. “The defendant possessed the firearm in the city of Wahpeton and then sold it to (the individual) for $100.”
According to the complaint, Kruger was convicted in May 2022 of a felony in Minnesota for “Drugs-1st Degree-Sale-17 grams or more-Cocaine or Meth w/in 90 day period.” He was sentenced to 90 months at a Minnesota correctional facility and was on parole at the time of the firearm possession.
Records state that Kruger’s prior criminal history also includes a 2012 conviction for three counts of manufacturing, delivering or possessing a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Two of those charges were class AA felony level and the first was class B felony level.
In August 2012, Kruger was sentenced in Richland County District Court to 30 years confinement with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for the two class AA charges. The sentence was suspended for 27 years, with five years probation and credit for 63 days served.
“Kruger pled guilty to the crimes stemming from incidents on Nov. 28, 2011 and Dec. 1, 2011,” Daily News previously reported. “District Court Judge Richard W. Grosz sentenced Kruger to 10 years imprisonment with seven years suspended for the first count of delivery of a controlled substance.”
The incidents involved the selling of 2 grams of marijuana to a SEMCA agent at a residence in the 400 block of 14th Street North, Wahpeton; .23 grams of cocaine to a SEMCA agent at an apartment in the 1100 block of Loy Avenue, within 1,000 feet of Wahpeton High School and Wahpeton Middle School; and .49 grams of cocaine to a confidential informant working with SEMCA agents at the same apartment, Daily News previously reported.
In June 2015, the sentences for all three charges were revoked and amended in Richland County District Court. Kruger was then sentenced by Judge Bradley Cruff to 78 months with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, with credit for 62 days served.
“Sentence shall run concurrent with any sentence the defendant receives in the state of Minnesota,” records state.
That same month, Kruger was convicted of burglary in Traverse County, Minnesota. According to records, he was sentenced to 78 months with the correctional facility in St. Cloud, Minnesota, with credit for 70 days previously served.
In May 2020, Kruger was convicted in Becker County, Minnesota, for first degree sale of 17 grams or more of cocaine or methamphetamine within a 90-day period. Records state that the penalty for subsequent conviction was a mandatory commitment of 4-40 years. Kruger was sentenced to 90 months with the correctional facility in St. Cloud, with credit for 63 days previously served.
Attorney Jonathan Green, appearing Monday in Richland County District Court, said he was making a limited appearance. The scope of any role he may fulfill for the defense has not been determined, Green said. Nevertheless, Green did speak for Kruger and requested that the $1 million cash or surety bond previously set for Kruger be reduced to $500,000.
Richland County State’s Attorney Megan Kummer and Green also both discussed statements made Monday, Jan. 16 and Tuesday, Jan. 17 by the Wahpeton Police Department. The initial statement said the incident was believed to be isolated and there was no current danger to the public. The second statement said the incident was determined to be isolated.
Green said the statements indicated there would be no risk to the community if Kruger was released. Kummer disagreed. Judge Cruff ultimately kept the bond at $1 million and also ordered drug testing for Kruger.
The maximum penalty in North Dakota for a class AA felony is life imprisonment without parole. The mandatory minimum penalty for murder is four years in prison.
The maximum penalty in North Dakota for a class B felony is 10 years imprisonment, a $20,000 fine, or both. The maximum penalty for a class C felony is five years imprisonment, a $10,000 fine, or both.
Additional court appearances for Kruger have not scheduled as of Monday, Jan. 23. He is currently confined in the Richland County Jail, Wahpeton.