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Franklin man faces murder charge for shooting of girlfriend

OLIVIA -- A 44-year-old man faces a second-degree intentional murder charge for the shooting death Monday of his 36-year-old girlfriend at their home north of Franklin in Renville County.

Dirk Lionel Goelz of rural Franklin will be formally charged with the murder of Kerri Marie Robinson upon his release from North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale.

Goelz was being treated there Tuesday after he shot himself in the shoulder with a handgun at 4:40 p.m. Monday outside of the sheriff's office in Olivia. An acquaintance had brought him to the sheriff's office, where he was expected to turn himself in for the shooting of his live-in girlfriend.

Renville County authorities had received a call at 3:32 p.m. Monday from the suspect's brother, Ronnie Goelz. He allegedly reported that Dirk Goelz had told him he had killed Robinson at their home north of Franklin.

Law officers recovered her body in the basement of the house at 70779 370th Street, Franklin. Law officials issued a statewide alert for Goelz, according to Sheriff Jerry Agre of Renville County.

Agre said that Goelz remained outside of the Renville County annex building when his acquaintance went into the building to report that he had come to turn himself in. She was not aware that Goelz had a handgun in his possession.

Most courthouse employees had left for home less than 10 minutes before the shooting occurred.

Mark Iverson, an employee in the county assessor's office, was walking out of the courthouse toward his car when he noticed a man go down next to the south door of the county annex building, where the Sheriff's Department is located. Iverson said he did not hear a gunshot and did not see anything that looked unusual. He said he saw the suspect on his back and moving as if he were scratching his back. "Nothing seemed really unusual,'' said Iverson, who added that he no reason to suspect what was occurring.

"It's not something you expect to happen,'' he said.

Iverson hopped into his car and headed east on U.S. Highway 212 and shortly after saw squad cars with lights flashing and sirens blaring headed to Olivia. Agre said that police officers responding to the scene took Goelz into custody and he was transported to the Renville County Hospital in Olivia. He was transferred Monday evening to North Memorial Hospital, where he remained in custody.

Goelz was reported to be in good condition Tuesday afternoon and was expected to be turned over to law enforcement in the evening. Renville County Attorney David Torgelson said that the defendant would be placed directly in jail upon his release from the hospital.

Goelz will make his first appearance Thursday morning in District Court on a charge of second-degree intentional murder, according to Torgelson.

He said his office is considering the possibility of convening a grand jury to consider a charge of first-degree premeditated murder against Goelz. Law enforcement officers are investigating allegations that earlier in the day on Monday Goelz had made threats to kill Robinson.

One man interviewed by officers after the shooting said that Robinson had told him that Dirk Goelz had threatened to kill her, according to the criminal allegations against the suspect.

The county attorney's office is also investigating whether there had been prior instances of domestic abuse by Goelz against Robinson. The sheriff's office reported that there had been prior contacts with the suspect.

District Court records show that Goelz had been charged with domestic assault in Renville County in January 1999. He was charged with the same offense in March 1999 as well as for violating an order for protection. All of the charges were dismissed and involved alleged activities against an unidentified person. Goelz was married to another woman at that time.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was summoned to the crime scene on Monday and collected forensic evidence at the house. Authorities are determining whether the handgun used by Goelz to shoot himself was also used in the shooting of the victim.