Brother: Murder suspect was not a monster

Published 5:55 pm Saturday, February 2, 2013

  • DPS confirms names of victim, suspect

  • Family to hold joint funeral Tuesday

Craig Seberson wasn’t a monster.

That’s what his brother, Kelly Seberson, wants people to know in the wake of a tragedy where, according to Department of Public Safety, Craig is the suspect in his father Dennis’s murder, which happened at about 3 a.m. Friday.

“My brother is probably going to be portrayed as some kind of a monster, and he wasn’t,” Kelly said. “He had some problems. It’s a case where we need good mental health care in this country and we just don’t take care of those people very well.”

Email newsletter signup

The Sebersons have lived in Austin for decades, and both Craig and Kelly were Austin High School graduates. Dennis, 86, worked at Hormel Foods Corp. for more than 40 years before retiring, eventually living out of the home at 510 Fourth St. NW in Austin which he owned and rented out for about 55 years.

“He had the foundation put down there,” Kelly said of his father Dennis. “He had rented out about seven or eight apartments for that long.”

Kelly and Craig were born and raised in the area, and with the exception of a few years, Kelly and his family have lived near town all their lives.

Kelly describes Craig as sensitive, but said he and his brother had a normal upbringing and never had issues with their father, Dennis. Kelly didn’t even know Craig was in town this week.

Kelly said he found out about his father’s death after one of his daughter’s friends called the family early Friday morning, saying police had cordoned off the street close to Austin High School. He drove to his father’s home soon after, and was told by Austin police to go to the Law Enforcement Center. By 8 a.m., Kelly had received the news: His father was dead, from blunt force trauma, according to preliminary reports from the Southern Minnesota Regional Coroner’s Office.

Craig had been seen driving away from his father’s home in a red Saab. Area police, including the Austin Police Department, Mower, Freeborn and Waseca County sheriff’s offices, and the Minnesota State Patrol chased him through Mower, Freeborn and Waseca counties.

Craig drove from police for about 50 miles and at times reached speeds higher than 130 mph. Authorities deployed stop sticks on Highway 13 south of Waseca. According to the DPS, Craig lost control of the vehicle and it flipped into a field, ejecting him. He died in the crash.

Now Kelly and his brother, Lon Newman, of Wausau, Wis., are left planning the funerals for their brother and father.

Kelly said Craig had always been a sensitive person, but was involved in sports during his high school days and had a lot of friends in the area. Yet Craig had recently struggled with his mental health, Kelly said, and moved to Meservey, Iowa, about six or seven months ago.

According to Kelly, the death wasn’t as severe as some were making it sound: It was more likely an argument between father and son that had gotten out of hand. Kelly got to see the crime scene Friday, and said his father’s house was clean, with no signs of a struggle. There were two cups of coffee on the kitchen table, even.

“You can’t villainize the kid,” Kelly said of his brother. “It was probably an argument that escalated in a second.”

That’s why the funeral services for both Craig and Dennis will take place starting at noon Tuesday at Crane Community Chapel in Austin. Memorial services will take place at noon, and the funerals will take place at 2 p.m.

The DPS said in a press release the investigation into Dennis’s murder is ongoing, and the Minnesota State Patrol is still investigating Craig’s fatal crash.

There are many unanswered questions, but Kelly knows one thing: Dennis would forgive Craig for what happened.

“My dad would have forgiven that kid anything,” Kelly said.