VIRGINIA — The second person accused in the 2019 killing of Frank Meyer is asking a district court judge to dismiss charges citing a lack of evidence.
Michelle Cramer, 46, of Mora, was charged with second-degree intentional murder along with her husband, 53-year-old J. Nicholas Cramer, after their arrest in June. Meyer was found dead in his garage during a welfare check in October 2019, after being beaten and shot several days earlier.
Last Friday, in a filing to the Sixth Judicial District Court in Virginia, Michelle Cramer and private defense attorney Travis Keil motioned Judge Robert C. Friday to dismiss the charges. At an omnibus hearing held Tuesday for Michelle Cramer, Friday gave prosecutors until Oct. 9, to file a response.
Earlier this month, Friday denied a motion by J. Nicholas Cramer to dismiss his murder charge.
In arguing to dismiss Michelle Cramer’s charges, Keil argued that the complaint filed against the couple in June focused more on her husband and failed to establish that she had an “active” or “affirmative” role in the homicide and that she was “nothing more than a potential witness.”
He outlined the investigation which consisted of 30 interviews – including people he claimed had motive to harm Meyer — DNA evidence, property searches, forensic analysis and more. What it concluded, Keil wrote, was that Meyer was killed with a .22 caliber gun and suffered blunt force trauma.
He noted that J. Nicholas Cramer was sold a Ruger SR .22 in 2019 and shell casings at the practice range matched those in Meyer’s garage and the Cramer camper. Keil also pointed to a “99.9999999997%” DNA match to J. Nicholas on a metal pipe with Meyer’s blood. He added that there was no DNA matching Michelle on the weapons, near the body or in the garage, and no motive.
The filing detailed a text message exchange between Michelle Cramer and Meyer on Oct. 2, when she asked Meyer to use his shower and offered him a joint in exchange. That was the last time Michelle Cramer reported seeing Meyer.
“The above-listed evidence is malarkey when applied to a criminal aiding and abetting charge,” Keil wrote, calling Michelle Cramer’s case “drastically different” from her husband’s.
In a statement to police, Michelle Cramer allegedly told police they had last seen Meyer on Oct. 2 and denied any knowledge of his killing, stating they left his residence to drive to Mora around 8 p.m. However, authorities said surveillance video showed the couple at an Eveleth gas station after 10 p.m. that night.
J. Nicholas Cramer also stated he last spoke to Meyer on the evening of Oct. 2, claiming they left some time before 10 p.m. He said he last saw Meyer walking from his house to the garage, according to the complaints.
A search of cell phone records allegedly showed J. Nicholas Cramer had called his wife five times between 7:05 p.m. and 7:37 p.m. on Oct. 2. The complaint stated that Michelle Cramer told police she had lost her phone on Meyer's property and they were trying to locate it, but investigators said two of the calls were of a "significant duration" that were inconsistent with that account.
Investigators recovered a fired .22-caliber cartridge case and two .22-caliber rounds in the Cramer RV on Oct. 9, according to the charging documents. They further said they spoke with a man who claimed he sold J. Nicholas Cramer a Ruger SR .22 in the 2019 and took police to a testing location where they recovered six cartridges that were later matched to the ones found in the Cramers’ camper and Meyer’s garage.
J. Nicholas Cramer was taken into custody on June 12 in Anoka, Minn. Michelle Cramer fled on foot and was subsequently located 30 minutes later and arrested, the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office reported.
J. Nicholas Cramer is scheduled for an omnibus hearing for Oct. 5. He is being held at the St. Louis County Jail in Duluth. A new hearing has not been set for Michelle Cramer, who is being held at Douglas County Jail in Wisconsin.