Hasselmo attacker delays trial

by Kamariea Forcier

A former University employee charged with firing a gun in the office of University President Nils Hasselmo last June waived her right to a speedy trial Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court.
Jennifer Joan May nodded vigorously when asked by her attorney if she was willing to waive that right.
May’s attorney, George Ludcke, would not comment on why he advised May to delay the case until Dec. 16. However, prosecuting attorney Elizabeth Cutter believes the defense is looking into their options.
“My understanding is the defense will be hiring their own expert witness,” she said.
At May’s last court appearance, which was Sept. 18, Judge Peter Lindberg ordered her to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine if she could plead not guilty by reason of mental illness.
Neither attorney would speak about the findings of May’s psychiatric evaluation at Tuesday’s hearing because state law declares that information private.
“This continuance is not at the state’s request,” said Cutter. “I do not believe (the defense) has hired an expert witness yet. From my understanding they wanted the opportunity to check that option out. What they would do depends on what their witness determines.”
May entered Hasselmo’s office on June 11 and demanded to speak with him. When Hasselmo’s staff told her she would have to wait, she became agitated, the complaint states, pulled a gun from her purse, fired one shot into the ceiling and then fled the office. She was arrested four days later.
May is charged with four counts of assault, one for each person in Hasselmo’s office at the time she fired the gun. She faces three to seven years in prison for each count if found guilty of second-degree assault with a firearm.
“I think the consequences are very severe. She is looking at a mandatory prison sentence,” Cutter said.