Original suspect in cop killing now charged with stalking

1:51 PM, Jan 10, 2013   |    comments
St. Cloud Times/Jun-Kai Teoh
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BUFFALO - The man who was arrested but not charged in the shooting death of Cold Spring-Richmond Police Officer Tom Decker has been charged with stalking his ex-girlfriend in Wright County.

Ryan Michael Larson, 34, is accused of a pattern of stalking that included calling his ex-girlfriend's employer and trying to get her fired, according to the criminal complaint against hnim. A warrant was issued today for Larson's arrest.

Larson was arrested the night Decker was shot to death behind Winner's Bar in Cold Spring Nov. 29. He spent four days in jail as a suspect in that murder before being released without being charged. He has maintained his innocence and said he had nothing to do with Decker's death.

A court complaint filed today in Wright County charging Larson with felony stalking and with violating a restraining order accuses him of contacting a health care facility in Buffalo where his ex-girlfriend worked and threatening to post warnings about the company on blogs and web sites that have anything "to do with your company's interest."

He also is accused of posting a negative online review of the company that included a statement that his ex-girlfriend "should be in jail," according to the court complaint.

He's also accused of contacting two of her former employers; one of those incidents caused her to lose her job in June, according to the charges. She got the restraining order on Aug. 21.

The complaint also accuses Larson of sending her four e-mails saying he had seen her vehicle at a Maple Lake bar on the night Decker was killed. She told investigators Larson was the only person who knew the address to that e-mail account. The complaint doesn't say what time Larson saw his ex-girlfriend's vehicle at the bar.

Larson, in an earlier interview with the Times, said he was asleep in his apartment above Winners from about 8 p.m. until he was arrested around midnight the night Decker was shot.

Wright County Sheriff Joe Hagerty said today that Larson's ex-girlfriend called sheriff's officials on Nov. 29 to report that Larson's mother had received "disturbing text messages" from Larson including one that said "tomorrow something big is going to happen." 

 Wright County sent two deputies to the ex-girlfriend's house at about 10:30 that night, Hagerty said, because of the ex-girlfriend's concerns about her safety.

Hagerty said Wright County has had several contacts with Larson and violations of a restraining order that Larson's ex-girlfriend had taken out against him. Those violations mostly involved text messages and e-mails, he said.

Larson said told the Times Thursday  that he was nowhere near the Maple Lake bar the night Decker was killed and reiterated that he was asleep in his apartment from 8 p.m. that night. He also said he hadn't communicated with his ex-girlfriend since August, when she took out of the restraining order against him.

He said he had earlier accused her of a crime by looking at his health care records and that's why she lost a job. He said he doesn't understand why he's been charged in Wright County and why people think he is still a suspect in Decker's death.

"It just seems like everyone is out to get me," he said. "They don't have any single shred of evidence against me."

The court complaint charging Larson in Wright County indicates that the with his ex-girlfriend continued into January and involved prank calls and text messages, including a message allegedly sent by Larson to his ex-girlfriend Jan. 4 alerting her to breaking news in the Decker investigation.

That was the day that the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and Stearns County Sheriff's Office announced that the weapon used to kill Decker had been found and that a man who was a "person of interest" had killed himself when investigators went to his Cold Spring-area residence to question him again.

The BCA said they continue to investigate what role Eric Joseph Thomes, 31, might have had in Decker's death. The weapon identified as the one used to kill Decker was found on a property that Thomes "had access to," according to the BCA.

While calling him a person of interest, investigators stopped short of saying Thomes was the person who shot Decker.


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