Former student stabbed by teen

Molly Moker

It’s not often that rural New Scandia, Minn., makes the front page of Twin Cities newspapers – especially because of a violent stabbing, residents of the township said.

On the morning of Aug. 12, a former University student was stabbed in her sleep by a 14-year-old neighbor in her home, Washington County Sheriff Jim Frank said.

Jaclyn Larson, 20, was stabbed at least 20 times, Frank said. She was in fair condition at Regions Hospital in St. Paul during the weekend.

Larson attended the University in 2003 before transferring to St. Cloud State University.

The county sheriff’s office received a 911 call at about 8:40 a.m. from Larson, saying she had been stabbed. Authorities found her in the front yard of her home.

Frank said the boy used a 3-inch hunting knife to stab Larson in the face, legs and body. Where the boy obtained the knife is still unknown, Frank said.

Larson identified her

attacker to authorities. The boy confessed to the stabbing, after being questioned by law officials, Frank said.

New Scandia residents said they were shocked this could happen in their “bedroom community,” which is 15 miles north of Stillwater, Minn.

The day after the incident, people gathered on street corners outside the township’s general store, eating ice cream and trading information.

Several businesses, including the Scandia Cafe, closed following the events.

“They’ve been taken aback,” said Anna Leibky, a hair stylist at Scandia Hair Design. “It’s not something you would think would happen in Scandia.”

Leibky said she cut the boy’s hair and would never imagine such behavior from him.

“He was a good, normal kid and he obeyed his mom when she said what he should do with his hair,” she said.

Connie Carufel, who worked with the boy at the junior high school, said she was shocked.

“He was a very kind, very polite young man, and the families were very close with each other,” she said. “It’s totally unlike him. I’m in shock; it just sickens me.”

Carufel said the boy was good friends with Larson’s younger brother and their parents spent a lot of time together.

The boy never showed signs of mental disabilities, Carufel said.

“He was always the one to give hugs when he’d see you, he always had a smile on his face,” she said.

But others who knew him said he sometimes acted peculiar.

Mark Synicyn, an 18-year-old employee at the local gas station, said his friend lives near the boy.

He said the boy would often let himself into their house, and family members would sometimes find him waiting outside the shower when they got out.

“He did have something wrong with him, but you wouldn’t notice it,” Synicyn said.

A week ago, the boy went over to Synicyn’s friend’s house and showed him his new knife set, Synicyn said.

“It was weird,” he said. “We didn’t think his parents would get them for him.”

The boy appeared Monday in Washington County Court. He has been in custody at the Washington County Law Enforcement Center since the attack, Frank said.

Washington County Attorney Doug Johnson said he cannot talk about the case because the boy is younger than 16.

Johnson said that in general, the county office decides whether minors will be certified as adults or as extended jurisdiction juveniles.

The extended jurisdiction juvenile system is a hybrid between the adult and juvenile systems. Minors tried as extended jurisdiction juveniles get two sentences.

One is a juvenile sentence – such as going to a correctional facility or group treatment. An adult sentence is also issued.

If minors carry out their juvenile sentences, the adult sentence will not be executed, Johnson said.

Decisions on how to try minors are based on the severity of the crime and what is known about the minor, Johnson said.

To obtain more information about minors, Johnson said, it’s common practice to certify them as adults. After minors go through the appropriate psychological studies, they can be moved down to extended juvenile jurisdiction, but the process can’t be reversed, Johnson said.

Juvenile court moves faster than adult court, and sentencing normally takes three to six months, he said.