Trial date set for career criminal Gonzalez

Also, a Jan. 12 student death was accidental, the Hennepin County medical examiners said.

A trial date was set during a Thursday morning hearing for the man who was posing as a University student while allegedly stealing students’ possessions.

The trial for the man police call Daniel Gonzalez, a 39-year-old with a catalog of aliases, will begin March 31 in Hennepin County Criminal Court.

Gonzalez will stand trial on several charges stemming from three separate cases.

The state has charged Gonzalez with receiving stolen property, two counts of theft of a motor vehicle, driving while impaired and fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle.

He pled not guilty to all counts during Thursday’s hearing.

Gonzalez was booked in Hennepin County Jail after his arrest Jan. 10 and remains there on $20,000 bail.

Police were able to catch Gonzalez after University senior Sergei Dmitriev took matters into his own hands.

Dmitriev’s laptop was stolen during winter break, and was later posted on Craigslist by Gonzalez.

Dmitriev responded to the ad for his computer and met with Gonzalez Jan. 9 to confirm the laptop was his.

He later called police and Gonzalez was arrested at work the next day.

Man who killed University student while driving drunk sentenced

It was about 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 28, 2007, and global studies and international business junior Rebecca Yacob was just four blocks from her home in Apple Valley. She was prepared to leave for Rome later that day to study abroad.

Yacob didn’t make the last four blocks because she was killed when a drunk driver hit her car with his truck.

The driver, Logan McFarland of Apple Valley, was sentenced to more than four years in prison Friday in Dakota County Criminal Court for the offense.

He was also fined $600 and ordered to pay restitution, according to the court.

He was facing two counts of criminal vehicular homicide and four counts of criminal vehicular operation resulting in bodily harm.

McFarland could have been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, according to the Minnesota statute regarding vehicular homicide.

McFarland was given credit for 238 days already served in prison.

Separate trials for men who robbed man outside Melrose

Two trial dates have been set for the men who robbed a visiting college student outside Melrose on Nov. 18.

Ahmed Mohamed and Ismail Abdirahman punched Paul Tran, a visiting student from Anoka-Ramsey Community College, and stole his wallet while implying they had a gun, according to the police report.

The men were later caught by Richfield police, and Tran’s wallet was found in one of the men’s pockets, Minneapolis police Sgt. Jesse Garcia said.

A trial date for Mohamed is scheduled to start March 24 and Abdirahman’s trial is scheduled to begin April 28.

Both men face first-degree aggravated robbery charges.

Mohamed’s charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and $35,000 in fines. Abdirahman’s charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines.

Folwell Hall vandalized

University police responded to an alarm that went off Saturday afternoon at Folwell Hall.

When the officer arrived, he found a podium broken and pushed over and writing on the chalkboard, according to the report. Nadim Asrar, a graduate student who was in the building at the time, said there was writing on two chalkboards and two message boards in Folwell.

The front door to the room was also broken, University Lt. Troy Buhta said.

The writing on the chalkboard appeared to be in Chinese and contained several expletives, Buhta said.

There are no cameras in the room and police do not have any suspects, he said.

Death of woman who drowned was accidental

Hennepin County medical examiners have ruled that the death of a University student who fell into the Mississippi River was accidental.

Rachel Dow, a 29-year-old women’s studies student, died of hypothermia after falling through the ice into the river on Jan. 12, the medical examiner’s office said.

Dow’s bike was found near a paved bicycle trail on West River Parkway and 38th Street East near where she fell into the river.

Dow was last seen leaving the Uptown Bar and Café on Jan. 11 on her bike.