Man convicted of murder walks out of court before verdict, now on the run

Michael Harlan, 28, of Bloomington, Minnesota was found guilty of third-degree murder Thursday, but fled the courthouse before he could hear the judge read the verdict.

According to court documents, Harlan is responsible for the death of 29-year-old Cole Linnell after he sold him fentanyl pills that were made to look like Oxycodone.

Harlan was out on bail when he arrived to the Hennepin County Courthouse for a hearing last week. Linnell’s mother was in the courtroom Thursday and says Harlan claimed he needed to use the restroom and never returned.

"The two police officers were walking in as Michael was walking out saying he needed to use the bathroom," said Jean Thurmer. "That’s the last we ever saw him."

Thurmer was looking forward to seeing her son’s drug dealer held accountable; after she says the cold case consultant she hired, Sheila Potocnik, linked Harlan to Linnell’s death. Now, she’s left without any closure exactly two years after her son’s death.

"He robbed my son of his life," Thurmer said. "I want my day in court when I can see the man in a jumpsuit."

Linnell was a graduate of Champlin-Park High School and struggled with an addiction to pain medication following a sports injury at the age of 14. Police found him dead at his kitchen table March 14, 2021, after his mother requested a welfare check.

Harlan now has a warrant out for his arrest. If you have information about his possible whereabouts, you’re encouraged to contact law enforcement.