Associated Press, Feb. 23, 2003
SUPERIOR, WIS. — A Minnesota man has been sentenced to three years in prison under a plea agreement for acting as an accomplice in the 1997 voodoo ritual killing of his uncle, a Minneapolis pharmacist and self-proclaimed voodoo high priest.
“I have never experienced a sentencing in which both a sister and daughter of the victim urged the imposition of a lenient sentence,” Judge Michael Lucci said in Douglas County Circuit Court Friday.
Brent A. Thompson, 29, of Kimball, Minn., admitted to driving victim Mark Foster, 45, and the convicted shooter, Gregory Friesner, 29, to rural Douglas County, dumping the gun in the St. Croix River and then repeatedly lying to police to throw them off the trail.
Thompson pleaded guilty to being a party to second-degree homicide and to obstructing the investigation.
Douglas County District Attorney Dan Blank called the killing on July 18, 1997, a de facto assisted suicide.
Thompson’s family and defense painted him as a troubled, overweight young man whose strangely charismatic and wealthy uncle took advantage of his health problems and low self-esteem to manipulate him into joining his cult.
Authorities said that Foster was suicidal and that he plotted his death after his business failed and federal authorities investigated him for illegally selling drugs.
In death, Foster planned to transfer his soul to Friesner, his student in voodoo and roommate, according to the criminal charges. Foster also told his nephew that he would kill him if Thompson didn’t follow through with the plan.
“I know that he would have done just about anything my father asked him to do,” Angela Foster said on her cousin’s behalf. “I know my father was real sick.”
Foster told the judge that she already had lost her father and that she didn’t want to lose her cousin to prison. The sentiment was echoed by an aunt.
Thompson was given credit by the judge and prosecution for coming forward and breaking open a case that frustrated police since Foster’s body was found clad in July 1997.
Friesner was sentenced earlier to 10 years in prison for shooting Foster.