Native American Press / Ojibwe News

March 21, 2003
Bemidji woman stabbed to death

Sharlene Denise Lussier, 37, of Bemidji, was stabbed to death Monday, apparently by her husband, police said. She was found dead in her kitchen at 1721 Delton Ave. N.W.

Police were called to the bloody crime scene by the woman’s 11-year-old son, who witnessed the stabbing, Bemidji Police Chief Bruce Preece said.

According to the criminal complaint against file against Lussier on March 19th, when Police Officers Ortness, Winskowski, and Sheriff’s Deputy Cross arrived at the scene at approximately 2:00 pm on Monday, they were “told by people in the yard that ‘she is dying, she’s been stabbed, she is dying’.”

“The husband, who is the suspect, was standing close to the victim with a knife in his hand,” Preece told the Bemidji Pioneer. “He attempted to cut himself also. He had a couple of knife wounds on his neck.”

When Lussier was led from the home, according to the complaint, “he attempted to pull away from Officer Orness and bent over” Sharlene’s body, saying “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

The suspect, Frank Duane Lussier, 34, was hospitalized Monday afternoon. He had attempted to cut his throat after law enforcement officers arrived at the Lussier home.

Three Lussier children were at home at the time of the assault and stabbing, Preece said. An 11-year-old boy and an 18-year-old girl witnessed the assault and left the house. According to the police report, the 18-year old girl, who is eight months pregnant, “was also physically assaulted by Frank Lussier” on Monday.  The 12-year-old boy hid in the bathroom with a mobile phone and called in the emergency.  According to Preece, the children are staying with relatives.

Preece said the couple had a history of domestic abuse and police have answered calls at the home in the past.

“He has served time for domestic assault,” Preece said of Frank Lussier.

Preece said Sharlene Lussier had been advised by Beltrami County service workers that the relationship was unhealthy but she insisted on staying with her husband.

“In this case, the system was there for these people and did all the right things, but the people didn’t want to cooperate,” Preece said.

Frank Lussier was charged with the death of Sharlene Lussier, and arraigned for murder on March 19, before Judge Paul E. Rasumussen.  He is represented by Kristine Kolar, Chief Public Defender for the Ninth Judicial District.  Shari Schluchter, Chief Assistant Beltrami County Attorney, is prosecuting the case.  The next court date is March 31, 2003, at 9:00 a.m.

Bail was set in the amount of one million dollars.

According to the Bemidji Pioneer, Sharlene Lussier’s death is the third killing of a wife by her husband in Beltrami County in less than one year.

On May 28, Joseph Wayne White murdered his wife, Rhoda Stately, at their home in Red Lake and assaulted her two children who tried to interfere. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in October.

On Oct. 5, Quentin Roy shot Franschesca Gonzalez at their home in Nymore and then turned the gun on himself, committing suicide. Two children, ages 9 and 10, were witnesses to the killing.

“It’s really violent times we’re living in,” said Cynthia Cran, domestic violence awareness coordinator at Northwoods Coalition for Battered Women. “Our community is grieving this loss and many who are in a domestic violence situation in their home may need our crisis number to call us for support, resources, shelter, or one of our other services.”

The shelter crisis lines are 751-0211 or (800) 588-6229. Advocates are available 24 hrs a day, seven days a week.

“We take psychological abuse as seriously as physical or sexual abuse. Things can escalate without warning,” Cran said.

She said the shelter also offers support for children and other family members mourning their loss.

This article includes information from the Bemidji Pioneer.

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