May receives 7 years of probation

R. Scott

In a March 18 proceeding, Hennepin County Judge Peter Lindberg sentenced Jennifer Joan May to seven years of probation for firing a handgun in the office of University President Nils Hasselmo.
The incident occurred last June, when May entered Hasselmo’s office and confronted employees with the gun. When her demands to see Hasselmo were denied, May fired a single shot into the ceiling.
May pleaded guilty on Feb. 11 to one count of second-degree assault. The probation contains several conditions, including continuing a program of mental health care and staying away from the University.
May will also be subject to electronic home monitoring for a year.
If May violates the restrictions or other terms of her probation, she could face jail time and a trial on three unresolved assault charges stemming from the case.
May’s prosecutor, Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Elizabeth Cutter, challenged Lindberg’s decision, calling for a written rationale and filing for a reconsideration of the sentence.
Cutter said May should face trial on the three remaining charges, not just the one for which she was sentenced. “I’m very concerned about public safety,” Cutter said in a post-trial interview in the Star Tribune. “She doesn’t appear to understand or appreciate the seriousness of her conduct.”
Lindberg declined to comment on the sentencing until he makes a decision on Cutter’s challenge.
May’s attorney, George O. Ludcke, said the sentence was appropriate because May will be under supervision for seven years, instead of the three she might have served in jail.
May said she went to Hasselmo’s office to raise complaints about her former boss in the chemistry department, where she worked from 1987 to 1991. May left the University after filing sexual harassment charges against department head Ronald Gentry.
The University’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action dismissed May’s charges in late 1991. In a statement released after the shooting, Gentry admitted to having been involved in what he described as a mutually consensual romantic relationship with May.
Lindberg has not announced when he will complete consideration of the sentencing challenge.