Prosecutors: Review of cold case from ‘scratch’ after resubmission

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office is promising to review a cold case "again from scratch with multiple senior attorneys" after the case was resubmitted by Maple Grove police nearly 14 years later.

Rob Anderson, 19, died mysteriously during a night of underage drinking in the basement of a friend’s house in the early morning hours of Dec. 4, 2009.

In 2011, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office (HCAO) declined to file second-degree manslaughter charges, primarily because the Hennepin County Medical Examiner said both the cause and manner of death were "unexplained."

In December 2019, the FOX 9 Investigators explored new leads in his death uncovered by cold case investigator Sheila Potocnik. Police subsequently reopened the case.

A review of the case is expected to take about 30 days, the HCAO spokesperson said.

The charging of the case is expected to hinge on whether new evidence uncovered in recent years will be admissible in court to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Anderson’s family believes the case has only become stronger in the last year after Anderson’s body was exhumed in November and a second autopsy was performed.

Two independent medical examiners said in May the manner of death was a homicide caused by "blunt force trauma to the head and neck."

Maple Grove police submitted the case on Aug. 11 to the HCAO for possible charges.

A spokesperson for Maple Grove police said in a statement the department, "has shared the results of the second autopsy with the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office and requested the case be reviewed for charging consideration related to manslaughter."

Anderson’s mother, Sandra Cikotte Anderson, told the FOX 9 Investigators that Maple Grove detectives have made it clear to her over the years they believe the case should be charged as murder, "but they received pushback from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office."

"So, I’m a bit shocked that 13 years later, with more evidence, including two medical experts agreeing that this case is homicide, that it was referred to Hennepin County as manslaughter," she said.

Cikotte Anderson said she was told by the independent forensic pathologist, Dr. Aleecia Wilson, who also performed a second autopsy on George Floyd, that her son was "beaten to death."

The two friends with Rob Anderson that night, Paul Leclerc and Matt Scouton, who police identified as suspects at the time, told detectives that during a night of heavy vodka drinking they were "messing with Rob," and slapped and punched him to "wake him up."

During an incoherent 911 call, Leclerc told dispatchers Rob was unconscious after falling out of a chair.

Leclerc told the 911 dispatcher he was going to drag Rob’s body out of the home and to the street corner where he would meet first responders, so they wouldn’t wake Leclerc’s parents who were sleeping upstairs.

After he was placed in the back of an empty squad car, a video system captured Leclerc screaming, "I killed him, I killed Rob."