Murder charges: Pot deal preceded death of Montrose teen dragged by pickup

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Justin Harvey walked up to the window of a white pickup truck to sell a 1/4 ounce bag of marijuana. The buyers asked for permission to smell the weed, then swiped the bag and pushed the gas pedal to the floor. Hanging on to the side of the truck, Harvey, 18, was dragged down First Street and left for dead just a short walk from his own Montrose, Minn. home.

That’s the marijuana deal that led to the death of Harvey and murder charges against two other 18-year-olds held in jail since Sunday – James Striebel of Howard Lake and Noelle Ziegelmann of St. Michael.

According to the criminal complaint, Wright County deputies were called to the 500 block of First Street at 2:28 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 28 and found Harvey lying in the road, unconscious. An investigating deputy was approached by a man who had just received a call from Striebel, asking whether there was a large police presence in Montrose. According to the criminal complaint, Striebel told the man he “just robbed a guy near the park in Montrose and kicked the guy out of the moving truck.” Striebel was looking for a ride to Minneapolis “or a place that he could lay low for a while.” He said Noelle was with him at the time of the incident.

Deputies used Striebel’s phone number to ping his location, and tracked him to the intersection of First Street South and Center Avenue in Montrose. Striebel answered a phone call from police and he and Ziegelmann agreed to surrender.

In an interview with police, Ziegelmann said she and Striebel decided to take the marijuana and have her drive off without paying for it. Ziegelmann said she "took off fast," but noticed after a few seconds that Harvey was no longer on the vehicle.

The pickup was later found in Delano and investigators noticed smear marks on the passenger side consistent with someone falling or brushing up against the truck.