Charge increased in Brooklyn Center homicide
By Katy Zillmer
The ex-girlfriend of a Brooklyn Center man, Bret Struck, who was shot and killed in his home in February, is now charged with first-degree premeditated murder for the crime.
Rochelle Inselman, 39 of Eden Valley, Minn., was arrested after a lengthy investigation that concluded three months after Struck’s death.
She was originally charged with second-degree murder in April and then the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office pursued a first-degree murder indictment from the grand jury.
“We think that is the most appropriate charge,” said Brooklyn Center Police Cmdr. Tim Gannon. “We do believe it is premeditated.”
The three-month investigation turned up evidence that Inselman had been obsessed with Struck since they broke up in 2004 and started stalking him.
In the week leading up to his death on Feb. 12, Inselman was in the area near Struck’s home on the 5400 block of Girard Avenue North four times, according to the criminal complaint filed against her in Hennepin County on April 11.
Gannon said after an April press conference to announce Inselman’s arrest that he had never seen stalking behavior of that level during his career in law enforcement.
Gannon led the investigation into Struck’s murder.
Investigators found Struck, who was 41, dead on the kitchen floor of his home Feb. 13. A former co-worker called police from outside Struck’s home after seeing him unresponsive on the floor.
Struck died of multiple gunshot wounds. There were several shell casings from a 9mm handgun near his body, but police did not find a murder weapon at the scene.
There were no signs of forced entry into Struck’s home.
Investigators spoke with Struck’s friends and family after his death and eventually learned about his past relationship with Inselman.
There was no evidence the former couple had any direct contact since they broke up in 2004.
But Inselman, as part of her history of harassing Struck, hacked into his Facebook account and used it to send defamatory messages to his family and friends. She also stole Struck’s identity to apply for four or five credit cards in 2011 and 2012, according to the criminal complaint.
Inselman told investigators she was at home using her computer on the day of Struck’s death. She also said she had not been in the Twin Cities any time after November 2011.
However, evidence shows Inselman’s computer was not in use for four hours on Feb. 12, including the time when Struck was killed.
Inselman was arrested on April 9 after the investigation revealed her harassment of Struck and that she purchased a gun in January.
Investigators eventually located the murder weapon using evidence from a gun box found in the trash by a custodian at a rest stop in Clearwater. The box had one bullet casing matching the gun inside, according to the criminal complaint.
Struck’s murder was the city of Brooklyn Center’s first homicide in 2012.
The investigation was lengthy and difficult, according to Gannon, and at one point the police department offered a reward of up to $5,000 for the arrest and prosecution of a suspect.
Struck’s family and friends were instrumental in helping the police department’s case and Gannon said he was pleased to hear of the first-degree murder charge.
“It was more verification that we had done what we needed to do to get this charged correctly,” Gannon said.
If convicted of first-degree murder, Inselman faces life in prison sentence without the possibility of parole.
Inselman is in custody at Hennepin County Jail on $1 million bail.
Her attorney, Andrew Pearson, said the first-degree murder indictment was, “expected. We had known they were going to do it for quite some time.”
There is an omnibus hearing for a plea in the case on Sept. 18.
“I fully anticipate entering a not-guilty plea,” Pearson said.