ANOKA, Minn. (KMSP) - A 28-year-old man pleaded guilty to murdering a 95-year-old Anoka man in his home.
Isaiah Montrell Thomas pleaded guilty to first degree murder while committing a felony. An Anoka County Grand Jury indicted him last year. At the time of the murder in November of 2016, Thomas was awaiting a sentencing for a burglary in Ramsey County.
In Anoka County District Court Tuesday, Thomas admitted to going into Albert Loehlein's home for a burglary. When he got inside, he encountered Loehlein. Thomas hit Loehlein several times with a flashlight. Loehlein died from his injuries.
Using forensic evidence, investigators linked Thomas to the murder and he was arrested as he was preparing to leave Minnesota.
“This was a horrendous crime, committed on a very vulnerable man, that shocked and saddened this
community” said Tony Palumbo, Anoka County Attorney. “After discussions with Mr. Loehlein’s
family, we feel this was an appropriate conclusion to the legal aspect of this tragedy.”
Statement from Al Loehlein's family:
"The Family of Al Loehlein thanks the Anoka City Police, the County Sheriff’s Office, Detective Lee and staff, County Prosecutor Wade Kish and his staff, County Attorney Tony Palumbo, the Victim Services Staff, the Crime Lab and forensic staff in addition to other law enforcement agencies.
"The immediate response of the police and sheriff’s office and the outstanding work of the law enforcement agencies helped to solve the brutal murder of our Dad in his home in an incredibly swift time frame. The professionalism and skills of everyone involved in solving and prosecuting this crime demonstrates their dedication to the safety of the citizens.
"Our Family also wishes to acknowledge the overwhelming support from extended family, friends, and
community throughout this tragedy. Everyone’s out-pouring of care and concern helped our family through this very difficult ordeal. We are reminded of how widely our Dad was known and cared about in the Anoka Community and beyond.
"Our Family supports the decision to accept the first degree murder guilty plea. This plea helps to bring closure for us. We want to remember the good long life that Dad lived."