VIRGINIA — Prosecutors have dismissed second-degree murder charges against one of the people accused of killing Frank Meyer in Makinen in 2019 as they await further evidence from a state crime lab.
The St. Louis County Attorney’s Office dismissed the charges against Michelle Cramer last week after her attorneys filed a speedy trial request on Sept. 29.
Bonnie Norlander, the lead prosecutor, wrote in her dismissal that law enforcement was still conducting an investigation and were “waiting on additional testing” from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension that “needs to be completed before the State can proceed to trial.”
The decision to dismiss comes about a month after Cramer’s attorneys asked Sixth Judicial District Judge Robert C. Friday to toss the charges, citing a lack of evidence against the 46-year-old Mora woman. Friday denied the motion last month.
Second-degree murder charges remain pending for J. Nicholas Cramer, 53, who was also denied an attempt to dismiss charges and filed for a speedy trial. His court hearings are scheduled through November. A jury trial is tentatively set to start Dec. 1.
Police officers found Meyer dead in his Makinen garage on Oct. 8, 2019, after a welfare check. Court records indicate he had been “physically assaulted, bound and shot.” Based on his cell phone use, it was determined he had likely been killed on the evening of Oct. 2.
The Cramers had previously lived on Meyer’s property before being asked to leave following an allegedly loud altercation between the victim and the accused in the early morning of Sept. 30, prompting a neighbor to phone the police. A neighbor found the camper in the middle of the road and invited the Cramers to leave it on his property where it stayed as of Oct. 9, according to the criminal complaint.
Authorities investigating the incident found .22-caliber cartridge cases and two bloody pipes that were consistent with Meyer’s injuries. According to the complaint, DNA on one pipe matched J. Nicholas Cramer with “99.9999999997% certainty.”
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 complaints state 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.