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Man found incompetent to stand trial in Minnesota cold case murder

Algene Vossen was arrested decades after the death of Mable Herman of Willmar, Minnesota, who was found stabbed at her home.
Credit: AP

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A judge has determined an elderly South Dakota man accused in a 1974 slaying in Minnesota isn’t competent to stand trial. 

Algene Vossen was arrested decades after the death of Mable Herman of Willmar, Minnesota, who was found stabbed at her home.

But it was only after advances in DNA testing and another look at the case that Vossen was arrested in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he had been living at the time. 

An attorney for the 80-year-old defendant asked that Vossen be found incompetent to stand trial due to his physical and mental status, and a judge in Kandiyohi County granted that request Friday.

“He has to be able to help his attorney prepare his defense, he has to be able to understand what it is that’s happening; it’s my position that he’s not competent to do that and that taking him to trial would be wrong, a miscarriage of justice,” his defense attorney Kent Marshall told KELO television in Sioux Falls before the ruling was made.

Marshall said Vossen suffers from dementia, Alzheimer's or a combination of the two. 

Vossen was arrested last summer at his home in Sioux Falls after a new cold case unit with the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office recovered his DNA from evidence gathered from the crime scene more than four decades ago. 

Herman was found dead in her home. Court documents said she had been stabbed at least 38 times. 

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