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Former principal gets 8 years for one-man crime wave

After hearing the stories of victims, Judge Tim Wermager sentenced Chris Endicott to eight years and six months in prison on stalking, burglary and ID theft charges.

HASTINGS, Minn. — One by one, victims of Christopher Endicott stood in a Dakota County courtroom Monday describing how the former principal's bizarre one-man crime wave terrorized their families and destroyed their sense of security.

After hearing their stories Judge Tim Wermager sentenced Endicott to eight years and six months in prison after he pleaded guilty to charges of stalking, burglary and identity theft. Of that time Endicott will serve five years and nine months behind bars, spend the final two-plus years on supervised release, and then be on probation for 10 years. He will also have to pay the victims $19,876.35 in restitution. 

"I don't pretend that what I did makes sense, even to me," Endicott told the court and his victims. "There is no excuse for my actions."

Those speaking out asking for the maximum possible sentence included educational colleagues and a next door neighbor who described what Endicott did to victimize her family and how it impacted their lives. She told the court Endicott broke into her home in 2015 and stole jewelry, clothing and other items after a dispute about their cat wandering into his yard. The worst thing he took was a house key, which shattered their sense of security and made the family terrified that he'd return. The woman says Endicott still lives next door, and they are thinking about selling their home and moving after all that has happened. 

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The neighbor's husband also spoke, saying his crimes were not financial, they were "personal and opportunistic," which he called more scary. He told the court Endicott sent a package and letter to their home after the burglary, trying to shift the blame and cause confusion over who was actually behind the break-in.

Another woman who says she didn't know Endicott before she became a victim describes how he stalked her, parking in front of the home and hacking into her family's internet. She claims he had access to more than 100 different accounts and was getting into them for months, resulting in four instances of credit card fraud. The victim, who works in the education field, asked for mandatory mental health treatment along with the maximum possible sentence. 

RELATED: Middle school principal charged with stalking

A middle school teacher described how Endicott stalked her for seven years, even following her on spring break as he had hacked into her information and had her airline account numbers. The woman was emotional when describing how she was teaching class when she learned Endicott had all her bank account numbers, and those of her mother. She said the former principal shattered one of her car windows, stole the garage door opener and entered her home, changing her bank auto-pay settings and email passwords. The teacher said although she was always afraid of guns, she bought one and learned how to shoot to protect herself from Endicott.

After hearing Endicott's defense team describe him as a "tortured soul" who knows he tortured others with his conduct and is remorseful, assistant Dakota County prosecutor Torrie Schneider launched what KARE 11 reporter Lou Raguse describes as "a 30-minute smack-down on Endicott's personality, excuses and history." Schneider told the court the defendant is tech savvy, sophisticated and manipulative. "He does not have a mental illness... he's a narcissist," Schneider railed. She talked about how his first crime came at age 14 when he broke into a neighbor's home to steal a BB gun, and related how Endicott even stole from his grandmother when he was in college. 

"He has believed himself smarter than the police, smarter than the prosecution, and I hope he doesn't believe himself smarter than this court," Schneider said.

The prosecution requested a sentence of 13 years and 6 months in prison due to the length of the crime spree (2010-2018) and the high number of victims targeted (18). 

Endicott's defense team described him as a changed man, who lost his family, underwent psychiatric treatment and "has demonstrated genuine remorse." 

The defendant himself attempted to sway the judge, talking about his motivations for the strange crime spree. "I've come to realize I have conscious and subconscious motivations for crimes," he told the court, describing an affair, money problems, debt, and hiding things from his wife, all of which triggered anxiety and narcissism. Endicott spoke for more than 20 minutes, addressing each of his victims individually. "I invaded people's lives and I do hate what I did," Endicott insisted. "I'm beyond sorry that my actions led us here." 

He finished by describing how he tried to kill himself in 2018, but failed after purchasing the wrong ammo for the rifle he had, preventing the weapon from firing. 

Ultimately, Judge Wermager denied the defense request for probation alone, saying despite his remorse Endicott used his position of status as a principal to carry out his crimes, plus used sophistication and planning. The sentence of eight years and six months in prison is a compromise of sorts. 

“We are pleased to have brought this defendant to justice for this disturbing criminal behavior that terrorized neighbors, family and co-workers,” said Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom following the sentencing. 

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