The Free Press, Mankato, MN

January 10, 2013

Man once jailed in cop-killing accused in stalking


Associated Press

ST. CLOUD — A man who was arrested but not charged in the killing of a Cold Spring police officer was charged Thursday with stalking his ex-girlfriend.

Ryan Michael Larson, 34, is accused of a pattern of stalking that included calling her employer and trying to get her fired, the St. Cloud Times reported (http://on.sctimes.com/11jMycu ). A warrant was issued for his arrest.

The criminal complaint filed in Wright County charged Larson with felony stalking and violating a restraining order. It accuses him of contacting a health care facility in Buffalo where his ex-girlfriend worked and threatening to post warnings about the company on blogs and web sites that had anything "to do with your company's interest." It also says he posted a negative online review of the company that said she "should be in jail."

Larson also was accused of contacting two of his ex-girlfriend's former employers, allegedly caused her to lose her job in June.

Larson told the Times he did not stalk the woman. He said he doesn't understand why he's been charged with that or why people think he is still a suspect in Decker's death.

"It just seems like everyone is out to get me," he said. "They don't have any single shred of evidence against me."

A home telephone listing for Larson was not in working order Wednesday. His attorney in the Cold Spring case, Joe Friedberg, did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press seeking comment on the stalking charges.

Larson was arrested Nov. 29, the night Officer Tom Decker was shot behind a Cold Spring bar. He spent four days in jail before authorities released him, saying they didn't have enough evidence to charge him. He reiterated his story Thursday that he's innocent of that crime and was sleeping in his apartment above the bar from about 8 p.m. until he was arrested around midnight.

The complaint says Larson sent his ex-girlfriend four emails saying he saw her vehicle at a Maple Lake bar the night Decker was killed. The complaint doesn't say what time he supposedly saw her vehicle. Maple Lake is about 25 miles southeast of Cold Spring.

Larson told the Times he was nowhere near the Maple Lake bar that night and said he had not communicated with his ex-girlfriend since she took out a restraining order on Aug. 21.

But the complaint says Larson's contacts with the former girlfriend continued into this month and involved prank calls and text messages, including a message Larson allegedly sent her (backslash)Friday alerting her to breaking news in the Decker case. That was the day investigators announced that the shotgun that killed Decker had been found and that a "person of interest," Eric Joseph Thomes, 31, of rural Cold Spring, killed himself when investigators went to his residence to question him earlier last week. Authorities have stopped short of calling Thomes a suspect, and the investigation into Decker's slaying continues.

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Information from: St. Cloud Times, http://www.sctimes.com