Seiberlich Free on Probation; Judge Says “This is it”
The woman found in the car with accused murderer Craig Hohenwald the night of the murder of Larry and Lois Steenerson is free on probation. Jennifer Ann-Lind Seiberlich, 28, received her sentence Friday in Kanabec County Court. She accepted a plea deal, dropping all counts but Aiding an Offender for Avoiding Arrest. Judge Timothy Bloomquist sentenced her to three years probation, but told her that any slip-up would result in at least a year of prison time.
Bloomquist told Seiberlich, “You have been given a significant break here.” He went on to say, ” Exactly one person can take advantage of that break and that’s you,” adding “This is it.”
Family of the Steenerson’s were in court Friday, but chose not to speak. They did write victim impact statements, and Bloomquist acknowledged that the written statements indicated the family disagreed with Seiberlich’s plea deal.
Hohenwald and Seiberlich were arrested at the scene the night of the February 8th murder. They were exiting the residence in a vehicle when authorities arrived, according to the criminal complaint. Law enforcement examination of the scene found a bloody knife located on the ground behind the passenger side of the car in which Hohenwald and Seiberlich were riding. A bloody gun was found underneath the passenger seat where Hohenwald was sitting. Deputies found an empty pistol holder on one of the steps in the home.
In a statement to investigators, Seiberlich said that prior to going to the residence, she received a text message from Hohenwald stating, “Are you up for a crazy night? 10 Gs.” Seiberlich told investigators she thought the text was related to drugs and did not notice anything unusual about Hohenwald when he re-rentered the car after coming from the house.
Seiberlich’s lawyer William Robyt said in court, Friday, that his client does stuggle with chemical dependency. Robyt said, “This is a true tradgedy in the purest sense.”
Part of the probation includes Seiberlich to abstain from drugs and alcohol. She is also subject to random drug tests, and must pay $13,000 in restitution. The money may be split between her and Hohenwald if he is convicted. Bloomquist also ordered Seiberlich to undergo both chemical and mental evaluations.
Prosecuting attorney Alfred Zdrazil addressed the court with passion. He said, “Although she did not have legal responsibilty for what Mr. Hohenwald did, she has to know she is morally responsible.” He said when there is drug dealing involved, there is a potential for violence. Zdrazil said that Seiberlich’s drug use destroyed her life and the life of the Steenerson family.
Zdrazil said that the probation sentence gives Seiberlich a chance to walk down a new path. He said, “This is an opportunity to straighten her life out,” adding, “We hope this brings some small modicum of good out of this tradgedy.”
According to the criminal complaint, officers found Larry Steenerson with between 30-40 stab wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Lois Steenerson was found with multiple stab wounds near the shoulder, collar bone, and chest. She was transported to the Kanabec County Hospital and later pronounced dead.
Hohenwald faces four first degree murder charges and two second degree murder charges. The first degree charges each carry a penalty of life in prison. He is due back in court November 5th.