A Nobles County jury found Slade James Kruse, 36, of Worthington, guilty Thursday of five felony counts -- the most serious being two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
The trial began on Tuesday at the Prairie Justice Center in Worthington. Braden Hoefert, Deputy County Attorney, tried the case for the State. Sixteen witnesses testified over two and a half days. Witnesses included members of the Worthington Police Department, the Southwest Crisis Center, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and a toxicology expert, as well as the victim.
According to a press release from Nobles County Attorney Joseph Sanow, the jury received the case on Thursday and deliberated approximately three and a half hours before returning its guilty verdict.
Wrote Sanow in the press release: “The facts of this case are gut-wrenching. The child victim in this case has suffered a great deal of trauma over his young life. This conviction will not erase that, but we hope it will provide some level of closure for him. I thank Deputy County Attorney Braden Hoefert and all the men and women of law enforcement and the Crisis Center who sought justice in this case.”
Kruse will be sentenced in February 2023 following completion of a pre-sentence investigation. He faces a minimum prison sentence of 12 years, and up to a maximum of 30 years.