Rape, robbery suspects held in Wisconsin

Kamariea Forcier

Two St. Paul men suspected of raping two University students remain behind bars and beyond Minnesota state lines Thursday, after an Eau Claire County, Wis., judge set bail at $25,000 apiece.
Antonio D. Burton, 20, and Puissance J. Andersen, 20, were charged Thursday morning in connection with a high-speed chase that occurred early Wednesday in Wisconsin.
While Burton and Andersen await a pretrial hearing for charges filed in Wisconsin, Minneapolis officials have yet to charge the men with any crimes.
Because of property found with the men in Wisconsin, including a stolen car, stereo equipment and jewelry, police suspect the men of the sexual assault and burglary that occurred in a University-area apartment Tuesday.
“Police are still investigating the crime. At this point the case has not been presented to our office for charges,” said Jennifer Fling, a media representative for the Hennepin County District Attorneys office.
However, Fling said Minnesota charges may be filed soon.
According to the Wisconsin complaint, Officer Pronschinske of the Eau Claire County Sheriffs’ department tried to stop a speeding car shortly after 1 a.m. The pursued 1994 Chevrolet Beretta slowed down to 20 mph as if to stop, before rapidly accelerating and leading the sheriff on a high speed chase. The car reached speeds of 100-110 mph before driving through a stop sign and crashing into a semi-tractor.
Burton, the driver of the car, jumped into the back seat after the crash and pretended to be unconscious. Wisconsin State Patrol officers joined Pronschinske in arresting Burton and Andersen, a passenger in the car. Police had learned while in pursuit that the car was reported stolen from Minneapolis.
During the arrest, police discovered stereo equipment and jewelry that linked them to a burglary and rape incident involving three University students Tuesday. During the search police also uncovered a knife under the passenger seat of the car.
Burton, who has a Minnesota warrant for his arrest stemming from charges of car theft in September, is charged with one count of felony car theft and one felony count of eluding police during the car chase. He is also charged with one felony count of possessing stolen property and a misdemeanor for obstructing an officer. If convicted of all four counts he faces a maximum prison sentence of 19 years in prison, as well as $32,000 in fines in the state of Wisconsin.
Andersen is charged with one count of felony car theft, as well as misdemeanor charges of possession of stolen property and carrying a concealed weapon. He faces up to $30,000 in fines and a maximum prison sentence of 6 years.
During the arraignment held Thursday in Eau Claire County, Andersen denied his guilt in the Wednesday car chase incident.
“I’m accused of stuff I don’t even know what it’s about,” he said. “I was going to see my daughter. I’m not guilty of shit.”
Judge Paul J. Lenz set a return court date of Oct. 15 for both men. Burton was already scheduled to appear in Ramsey County on Oct. 15 for charges stemming from a Sept. 4 car theft incident.