Bellrichard pleads not guilty to threats

Published 10:13 am Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Austin resident Loren Bellrichard has pleaded not guilty to charges for allegedly threatening two county attorneys and an Austin police officer.

Bellrichard, 67, pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Mower County Court to felony charges of terroristic threats and coercion — threat to inflict bodily harm.

Loren Bellrichard

Loren Bellrichard

According to the complaint filed in Mower County Court, a Mower County attorney received a letter postmarked from St. Paul that contained death threats on Nov. 4. The letter is allegedly signed, “Peace, Loren Bellrichard.” The handwritten letter suspiciously stated another person would burn down the victims’ houses if they did not drop charges; and attached to the back of the envelope was an Associated Press article about a St. Paul man accused of burning down a home and fleeing from Minnesota.

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According to the court complaint, one part of the letter states: “Hang onto your hats. I think I know how to appease this guy before he puts a ‘hit’ on you — all in Austin, dear friends.”

Bellrichard was convicted in 1991 for threatening public officials. He sent more threatening letters to public officials while in prison, which added seven years to his sentence. He was also suspected of setting fire to the homes of two district judges in 1988 and 1989, but was acquitted of those charges.

This September, Bellrichard was arrested for allegedly leaving letters and gifts for a 16-year-old girl after he was told by police to stop. In that case, he faces three felony charges for stalking a victim younger than 18. He was later released after paying bail; however, Bellrichard violated the terms of his release when he contacted the victim and went back to the Mower County jail in October.

Bellrichard received a two-day furlough to attend his mother’s funeral but was required to return to the jail on Nov. 2. Police in Alma, Wis., about 95 miles from Austin, found Bellrichard on Nov. 6 and arrested him.

The alleged letter from Bellrichard to local officials demands the return of his $5,000 bail and all his current charges be dropped.

Prosecuting attorneys and a judge from outside of Mower County of handling the case.