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Richard Peterson submits Alford plea in death of woman found buried on his property

By WCCO Staff

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    ISANTI COUNTY, Minnesota (WCCO) — An Isanti man has entered an Alford plea in the death of a woman found buried on his property.

According to court records, Richard Peterson, 38, entered the plea Monday in Isanti County court. The plea is essentially a guilty plea with the defendant asserting they don’t remember the crime due to some sort of impairment.

Vangrinsven, 32, was reported missing after the night of Aug. 5, 2021, when she was last seen out drinking with Peterson.

In the following days, investigators executed multiple search warrants on Peterson’s property after they learned that he was seen digging holes with heavy machinery the morning after he was with Vangrinsven.

On Aug. 11, investigators found Vangrinsven’s body on the southwest end of Peterson’s property, buried so deep that Peterson’s own backhoe tractor attachment needed to be used to retrieve the body, according to the complaint.

According to a medical examiner’s report, Vangrinsven’s cause of death was a single gunshot to the back of the head.

Peterson’s sentencing is set for April 13. Second-degree murder has a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison.

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