MN family issues warning as convicted murderer set to be freed

A man sentenced for a Minneapolis murder in 2019 is about to be released from prison after just five years. The victim's family wants to warn others that he is a very dangerous man.

It's been 41 years since the body of 17-year-old Lorri Mesedahl was found by the railroad tracks near 28th Avenue in North Minneapolis. She had been raped, beaten, stabbed and choked. Her family had to live through decades without any justice. Police knew who did it, but the evidence to prove it wasn’t strong enough at that time. Lorri's brother Del Young said.

"My family lived through hell for 36 years just trying to put this together. Who would do something so vicious?  So mean, so everything. well, the DNA test finally came in and the DNA test came up positive for Darrell Rea.

Darrell Rea had been the suspect all along and finally when DNA technology came around, they tied him to the rape and murder of Lorri Mesedahl. He was tried in 2017, convicted and sentenced in 2019. But Lorri’s rape, and several other cases of rape he was tied to by DNA could not be prosecuted because the statute of limitations had run out.

Young met some of Rea’s other survivor victims when he went to court for his sister’s case. They all shared horrifying stories, and Young remembers what one woman said very well. "She was beaten, but he stabbed her in the back of the neck with an ice pick, And she played dead on the floor, and he kept driving. and when the car slowed down, apparently she rolled out of the car, And she was able to get away because he took off."

Penalties are stiffer now for second-degree murder, but he got the max for the time which was ten years. He's set to be released May 23, not serving the entire ten years.

Young, who is a retired Maple Grove Police officer strongly believes Rea will re-offend. "So to think of your letting somebody out, that would do something so vicious to a human being, and yet he's going to be walking the streets and imagine being his neighbor."

At the time of Rea’s conviction, the criminal complaint stated that "Officers were familiar with the defendant as he was a suspect/ person of interest in multiple open police investigations involving sexual assault, physical assault, murder, and missing persons cases. Although it’s hard for Del Young to talk about his sister, he feels compelled to at least try to warn others that Rea is on his way out. 

Rea denied any knowledge of Lorri Mesedahl's murder. The Minnesota Department of Corrections told FOX 9 that details of any treatment programs he may have completed are not public information.

They did say he went through some educational programs and held several work assignments while incarcerated.  Darrell Rea will be released on May 23.