Darren Lloyd Stebe was sentenced to two life prison sentences, to be served concurrently, for a double homicide nearly three years ago just north of Bemidji.
Stebe has spent most of his adult life on probation or in prison, said prosecutor David Frank during the sentencing hearing Thursday morning.
“This is the end of a very long process,” said Frank. “A process that will never end for their victims. This was one of the most disturbing and chilling cases of my career.”
Stebe admitted in a plea hearing yesterday that he lured one of the victims, Jason McDonough, to his Bemidji home with the intent to rob him in January of 2019.
After Stebe demanded McDonough hand over money and McDonough refused, Stebe shot both McDonough and Adam Thorpe, who accompanied McDonough to the Bemidji area.
Stebe then dismembered their bodies and burned them in a backyard fire pit, with the assistance of then-girlfriend Kristi Trisco and associate Daniel Linde.
Both Trisco and Linde already submitted guilty pleas for their roles in the crime and attempted coverup.
Thorpe and McDonough’s family and friends read victim impact statements to the court, largely illustrating the hole in their lives after their untimely ends.
They described both as men with their own struggles with addiction but both were described as generous, unique and loving.
Peter Thorpe, Adam’s father, said he was estranged from his son for several years leading up to Adam’s murder and had constantly hoped for reconnection
“Stebe took away any chance of reconciliation,” said the elder Thorpe.
In attendance, virtually and in-person, were several members of Thorpe’s and McDonough’s family, including Thorpe’s 13-year-old son, who, in a statement read by his mother, said he always hoped his dad would get sober but his dreams were crushed by Stebe’s callous murder of him.
McDonough’s cousin, Danielle, described McDonough as “not having a violent bone in his body,” and that these crimes were “unforgivable.”
“I can’t express the sorrow for my actions,” said Stebe in his brief statement, while shackled. “I don’t expect my apologies to be accepted.”
“I can’t tell you if I’m looking at evil,” the Honorable Judge John Melbye said in the proceedings.
“This is the first time in my 15 years on the bench to send someone to prison for life.”
Melbye encouraged Stebe to find redemption by mentoring younger men in prison to steer away from his path.
Stebe received credit for 1,067 days already served in custody, and the law allows him to apply for parole in 30 years.