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Joshua Allen KRUETH





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Methamphetamine addict
Number of victims: 2
Date of murder: September 4/19, 2004
Date of arrest: September 20, 2004
Date of birth: 1984
Victims profile: Lawrence Plessel, 60 / Suzanne Kaye Fischer, 59
Method of murder: Shooting (high-powered rifle)
Location: Anoka County, Minnesota, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison on September 14, 2005

Anoka County sheriff claims 'serial killer' behind two deaths

Separate shootings acts of 20-year-old, police say

September 21, 2004

The killings of two people in separate attacks in their homes this month were carried out by a 20-year-old man, authorities said Monday.

Murder charges weren't expected against Joshua A. Krueth until Tuesday, but at a news conference Monday, Anoka County Sheriff Bruce Andersohn and other law enforcement officers said Krueth shot Suzanne Kaye Fischer, 59, on Sunday and Lawrence Plessel, 60, on a Saturday two weeks earlier.

Andersohn described Krueth as a "a serial killer who ... has been stopped as of yesterday afternoon."

Both Fischer and Plessel were from Ramsey and both were shot with a high-powered rifle while in their homes.

Andersohn said police didn't have a motive for the killings. They believe Krueth is responsible for the crimes based on statements he made to authorities, Andersohn said.

The manhunt that led to Krueth's capture started early Sunday after Fischer's husband called the Anoka County Sheriff's Department to report a gunman had apparently broken into their home and shot his wife in the head. The shooter then fled.

It was the second homicide this month in Ramsey, a town of about 18,500 north of Minneapolis. On the night of Sept. 4, someone stood on Plessel's deck and shot him through his kitchen window, hitting him in the chest.

Authorities said Krueth, Fischer and Plessel all lived within about 2 miles of each other.

Officers were led to Krueth after they found a backpack in a park they were searching and displayed a college sweat shirt with the letters "IUPUI," apparently for Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis, in a TV news report. A person came to a police command post to say they knew someone with such a sweat shirt, Anoka County Sheriff's Capt. Bob Aldrich said.

Andersohn said Krueth resisted arrest, but was unarmed, when he was taken into custody.

Andersohn said that two high-powered rifles were recovered during the investigation, but he did not give details.

A man who described himself as a friend of Krueth's, 18-year-old Jason Burgess, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that Krueth works installing drywall with his father.

No one came to the door at the Krueth family house in Ramsey Monday afternoon.

Ramsey Police Chief James Way said officers had had numerous minor contacts with Krueth but "nothing ... even close to this."

Aldrich said samples of Krueth's blood were being tested for drugs and alcohol.

A woman who lives across the street, Tonya Griffore, said she was still unsettled from the heavy police and SWAT team presence in the neighborhood the day before.

"I'm kind of relieved that he's caught," Griffore said. "I'm real thankful for that. But it's still really unsettling."

Leon Fischer, brother-in-law to Suzanne Fischer, said at the news conference that he was sure that her killer "never met her, never knew her."

He said that as a Christian he would have to forgive her killer eventually, but "today, it's not on the plate."

Plessel's son, Dan Plessel, also said there was no personal link between his father and Krueth. When asked, he said that he could not put his emotions toward the suspect into words.

He did offer sympathy for the Fischer family. Speaking from experience, he said he understood how in a moment "their lives were turned upside down."

The killings were still reverberating through the small town on Monday. Dawn Zimmer, 32, one of Lawrence Plessel's neighbors, said she wouldn't expect something like a killing in her quiet neighborhood.

"I've never had any problems," she said. "I've always felt safe here, so it was very surprising that it had happened to Larry, first of all, then another one."


Minnesota police believe they've stopped possible serial killer

September 21, 2004

A 20-year-old man was charged Tuesday in the apparent random slayings of two people in their north suburban homes. Police declared they had stopped a possible serial killer.

The only link between Joshua Allen Krueth and the victims appeared to be that they lived within 2 miles of each other in Ramsey, a community of more than 18,500 north of Minneapolis, police said. Both victims were shot with a rifle.

Krueth was charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Suzanne Fischer, a 59-year-old nurse, on Sunday, and of retiree Lawrence Plessel, 60, on Sept. 4. Bail was set at $2 million.

According to criminal complaints, Krueth told authorities he killed the pair; the court documents do not indicate whether he gave a reason for the violence. In public statements Monday, investigators said the victims were chosen at random.

"The negative part of this is we still don't know ... why," said Dan Plessel, whose father was fatally shot as he made a midnight snack.

Krueth said he stood 50 yards from Plessel's house, looked through his scope and fired through the kitchen window, hitting the man in the heart. Asked why he didn't shoot twice, Krueth told police: "That's all it took."

Fischer died early Sunday from a shot in the head as she slept next to her husband. Krueth allegedly entered through an unlocked patio door.

Officers were ultimately led to the suspect later Sunday after someone recognized as Krueth's a college sweat shirt with the letters for Indiana University and Purdue University-Indianapolis. The garment was shown on TV after police found it in a backpack, along with a rifle, while chasing Krueth along the Mississippi River.

The same man also told police he'd recently heard Krueth talk of "random killings," according to the complaints.

After the arrest, Anoka County Sheriff Bruce Andersohn described Krueth as "a serial killer who ... has been stopped," and said he was a known drug user who was sentenced in June to a month in jail on a burglary conviction.


Police call suspect possible serial killer

September 22, 2004

A 20-year-old man was charged Tuesday in the apparent random slayings of two people in their suburban homes. Police said they had stopped a possible serial killer.

The only link between Joshua Allen Krueth and the victims appeared to be that they lived within two miles of each other in Ramsey, a community of more than 18,500 north of Minneapolis, police said. Both victims were shot with a rifle.


Man Sentenced For Killing Sleeping Woman

Sep 15, 2005

Anoka, Minn. (AP) ― The 21-year-old man who was high on methamphetamine when he entered a Ramsey, Minn. home and shot a woman while she slept was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison.

Joshua A. Krueth won't be eligible for parole for at least 30 years, minus the year he has already served in jail.

"Thirty years ain't long enough," said Jerome Fischer, the victim's husband.

Krueth had pleaded guilty in the killing.

On Sept. 19, 2004, Krueth shot Suzanne Fischer, 59, as she slept in her bed. Her husband, Jerome, began to get up and Krueth hit him in the head with his assault rifle before fleeing.

"I still wonder why he didn't take me first," Jerome Fischer, 61, said after the sentencing. "I'll never know, I guess. When I got up, he took off."

Krueth had no comment before his sentencing Wednesday in Anoka County District Court.

In court, Jerome Fischer said he and Suzanne were married 40 years. He was retired, and she was about to retire after working 37 years as a nurse in Fridley. Fischer said his wife cared for him after he developed leukemia and had kidney and bone marrow transplants.

"I never would have made it without her. Our best friends called her our guardian angel," he said. "I truly believe she is guarding our family and friends."

Outside the courtroom after the sentencing, Krueth's aunts and his father, Gary Krueth, apologized to the Fischers.

Joshua Krueth, of Ramsey, also faces trial in January on charges that he shot a man to death in Ramsey two weeks before killing Suzanne Fischer. Lawrence Plessel, 60, was shot once in the chest on Sept. 4, 2004, by someone apparently standing outside the rear window of his home.

Suzanne Fischer, victim


Second Murder by Meth-Head

May 27, 2006

An Anoka County judge sentenced Joshua Allen Krueth on Thursday to 40 years in prison the maximum penalty allowed in the second-degree murder of Lawrence Plessel, a retired trash hauler from Ramsey. Thursday's developments capped a roller-coaster saga for the meth-addicted high school dropout who now has two murders to his name.

Krueth, 22, pleaded guilty last year to first-degree murder in the Sept. 19, 2004, shooting death of Suzanne Fischer, a 59-year-old Ramsey nurse. The killing happened 15 days after Plessel, 60, was shot in the same small town.

Krueth is serving a life sentence in Fischer's murder, which carries a minimum term of 30 years. His sentence in the Plessel case will begin if and when he completes the other sentence.



Joshua Allen Krueth



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