Witness described night of stabbing near Grand Forks
GRAND FORKS — New court documents give new alleged details from a teenage witness of the stabbing death of Ruben Cisneros Jr. on Nov. 17 northwest of Grand Forks and show how fast law enforcement nabbed the suspects in the killing and burglary.
Three men and a woman, Jennifer Blue, remain in the Grand Forks County jail awaiting a preliminary hearing Dec. 23.
Joe Saucedo, 21, was charged last month with Class AA felony murder — which has a maximum prison sentence of life — and Class B felony burglary.
Blue, 23, Thomas Begg, 23, and Vincent Gladue, 24, were charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, a Class B felony that carries a top prison sentence of 10 years. The men were living in the East Grand Inn in East Grand Forks, Minn., and working for a potato wash plant.
Blue lived with several relatives in an apartment in south Grand Forks, including a relative, 16, who told investigators she witnessed Cisneros getting stabbed.
In search warrant documents filed this week in state district court in Grand Forks, Deputy Delicia Glaze of the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Department said the girl, arrested within half an hour of the stabbing, quickly gave investigators a detailed account.
Jennifer Blue had been Cisneros’ girlfriend and had lived with him in the house northwest of the Grand Forks International Airport where Cisneros, 33, died of stab wounds in his brother’s arms that night.
According to Glaze, in an interview less than two hours after the killing, the 16-year-old girl told investigators in East Grand Forks:
At the East Grand Inn, 606 Gateway Drive that night, where the three men were staying, she saw Saucedo “put knives in his pockets,” and she asked him if he was planning on using them.
“No, we are just going to fight,” Saucedo said.
Then Begg, whom the girl did not know, showed up at the motel and Saucedo told him, “We have a big Mexican we need to go beat down.”
The girl said she accompanied Blue and the three men in a blue Ford pickup truck, with a North Dakota plate, “WLDBLU,” to Cisneros’ home, about 10 miles from the motel.
They arrived shortly before 1 a.m.
Saucedo, Begg and Gladue kicked in the front door and demanded Blue’s things and began taking things, according to Joel Cisneros, who said he and his older brother and their father were awakened by the intruders.
The girl said “she witnessed Joe Saucedo grab a knife from his left pocket and stab Ruben Cisneros approximately six times,” Glaze said in her court affidavit.
Blue, the girl and three men then left in the truck and the two Honda Accord sedans, heading back to East Grand Forks. Meanwhile Joel Cisneros, trying to save his brother, had called 911, but he died before deputies arrived at 1:02 a.m.
Quick police action followed.
At 1:37 a.m., East Grand Forks police officers spotted the blue pickup and stopped it in the 300 block of Demers Avenue in downtown East Grand Forks. Its sole occupant was the driver, the 16-year-old girl.
By 2:20 a.m., police located one of the Hondas in the East Grand Inn’s parking lot. By 5:11 a.m. the other Honda was located near the motel.
A dome light was on inside the second Honda and a police officer could see “in plain view,” blood inside the car, Glaze said.
The three men soon were arrested. Blue was taken in later.
By 8:36 a.m. the day of the killing, Saucedo — already identified by the girl as Cisneros’ killer — was being interviewed in the East Grand Forks police station. That’s when Deputy Glaze said she noticed his fingernails “appeared to be dirty and containing foreign material,” with “several open cuts … indicative of a physical altercation.”
Glaze said in her search warrant documents filed this week that recordings made from several cellphones found on the four suspects, or in their vehicles and rooms, would be forensically examined for possible evidence of crimes, including photos, text messages and other data on the phones.
The phones and the insides of the vehicles were swabbed for DNA and other evidence of blood and for fingerprints.
All four are due in court Dec. 23 on the charges.
Blue is facing a separate charge from earlier this year that she attempted to illegally get prescription drugs from Altru Hospital, using three different names within a 24-hour period.
She’s slated to be arraigned in that case Jan. 8.