CHASKA, Minn. (KMSP) - Two men are expected to plead guilty on Thursday in the homicide death of a 90-year-old bachelor farmer in San Francisco Township near Chaska, Minn.
Earl Olander was found dead with his hands bound at his 320-acre farm a year ago, where he bailed hay to sell in Belle Plaine once a week.
Reinol Godines Vergara, 35, of Richfield, Minn. and Edson Celin Dominguez Benitez, 29, of St. Paul were both charged with second-degree murder. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials had put detainers on both of them, which means they were suspected of being illegal immigrants.
Family remembers slain 90-year-old farmer as selfless, humble
Police said there were no signs of a break-in at Olander's rural home on the family farm, located not far from the original farmhouse where he was born in 1925. On May 9, a tipster called police and said he was cleaning out a recently-vacated apartment in St. Paul and found a large bible written in "a European language" with two $1,000 savings bonds issued to Earl Olander inside. He searched Olander's name online and learned he was the victim of a homicide. Benitez had recently occupied the apartment and he was arrested, in Crocs, on May 9. He admitted the having the bible and left it behind when he moved.
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Neighbor Jerry Scott was the one who found him.
"It's the most tragic thing because he was so well-liked by everyone. I don't think he had an enemy in the world. He loved to visit with people, that was one of his things. I'd bring him things and then finally I'd have to say, 'I have to go home now.' Everybody liked him,” Scott said.