Minn. judge tosses gun possession charges against murderer - KMSP-TV

Minn. judge tosses gun possession charges against convicted murderer

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Christian Oberender gunned down his mother when he was just 14. Now, it's 18 years later and he has served his punishment -- but does that mean he, as a convicted felon, should be able to buy guns?

"I knew in my heart I had to tell somebody -- because if something bad happened, I would never forgive myself," D.J. Welteroth told Fox 9 News.

It was 13 months ago that Welteroth saw disturbing photographs Oberender posted on Facebook featuring bloodied snowmen and guns. Welteroth knew that Oberender had killed his own mother in 1995, had spent time in mental institutions, and he worried Oberender may have gone off his medications.

"These folks need to be mandated to stay on a program -- blood monitoring, whatever it takes," Welteroth said.

Welteroth told to the Carver County Sheriff's Department about what she had seen, and investigators found 13 weapons -- including shotguns, pistols and assault rifles -- that Oberender had obtained permits to buy despite his record. They also found a letter written to his mother that read in part, "I am so homicide. What is wrong with me? I think about killing all the time. The monster wants out."

Minnesota state law currently forbids any convicted felon to be in possession of a firearm, but a Carver County judge tossed out charges leveled against the 32-year-old on Tuesday. When explaining the decision, the judge basically said it is the system's fault that Oberender -- a man with a history of violence and mental illness -- was able to amass an arsenal of weapons without realizing that he shouldn't. In fact, Oberender's own attorneys argued that their client didn't know his right to own weapons had been revoked.

"Ignorance of the law has never been an excuse," Welteroth protested. "It has never been an excuse."

The judge also faulted cracks in the law enforcement and court systems that allowed Oberender to obtain permits; however, an appeal is already under way because Oberender entered his name incorrectly on the applications and answered "no" to questions about his criminal history and admittance to mental institutions. Oberender maintains he was confused, but Welteroth retains her doubts.

"My personal opinion? I think he lied," she said. "I have no way of proving that he lied. That's my personal opinion. I think he was fully aware of his past."

Welteroth says she is actively pushing for better safety nets for people with mental illnesses, and much of that motivation comes from watching Oberender. In the meantime, Oberender will remain behind bars because federal charges were filed Tuesday. That means that if he gets out of the Carver County Jail, the feds will be waiting to pick him up themselves.

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