3 fugitives plead guiltyThree Alabama fugitives who were arrested in Stark County in June pleaded guilty to lowered charges at a pretrial conference in Dickinson Tuesday afternoon.
By: Ashley Martin, The Dickinson Press
Three Alabama fugitives who were arrested in Stark County in June pleaded guilty to lowered charges at a pretrial conference in Dickinson Tuesday afternoon.
Ashton Kenny Chase Mink, his sister Angela Diana Mink and Joshua Lloyd Southwick were reportedly involved in a robbery in Dickinson. As they were fleeing the scene, one of them reportedly fired shots at a pursuing North Dakota Highway Patrol trooper.
They then hid in a garage near Gladstone, causing a lengthy standoff with authorities that ended in their arrest.
Ashton Mink’s wife, Jacquelin Mink, was also arrested in connection to the incident and was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty.
Angela Mink and Southwick surrendered to authorities, but Ashton and Jacquelin Mink reportedly ran out the back of the garage firing guns and Ashton Mink was shot by police.
Authorities believe Angela and Jacquelin Mink helped Ashton Mink and Southwick escape from an Alabama prison in May.
“This is basically one big conspiracy,” said Tom Henning, Stark County state’s attorney, after the hearing. “The objective was to get out of the United States and get to Canada.”
All four were charged with criminal conspiracy to commit murder and criminal conspiracy to commit robbery, according to their Stark County criminal complaints.
Ashton and Jacquelin Mink also faced a second count of criminal conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder.
Ashton Mink pleaded to the amended charges of robbery and reckless endangerment and will serve 20 years in prison if a judge approves the plea agreement.
“It is our indication that (Ashton Mink) and (Jacquelin Mink) had decided that they were going to end their lives by law enforcement’s bullets on that day,” Henning said.
The couple fired their weapons until authorities wounded Ashton Mink, Henning said. Jacquelin Mink then shot herself, Henning said.
Southwick pleaded guilty to an amended charge of attempted murder and will also serve 20 years in prison if the judge approves the plea agreement.
“During that pursuit, Mr. Southwick positioned himself outside the passenger side of the front window, so that he could fire a handgun at the pursuing squad car,” Henning said.
He said one round Southwick fired hit the headrest of the passenger seat of the vehicle in the front seat.
“This wasn’t one lucky shot,” Henning said. “Our information says four to six rounds were discharged by Mr. Southwick.”
If Angela Mink abides by conditions set by the court, such as supervised probation, she will serve 10 years in prison if a judge approves the plea agreement. She pleaded guilty to the amended charge of robbery.
Henning said Angela and Ashton Mink planned the robbery of a Dickinson video store.
“When they arrived in our area they were short on cash and wished to continue their travels into Canada,” Henning said. “Ashton and Angela then entered the Movie Gallery with handguns and robbed the store.”
The charges of conspiracy to commit murder, which all four fugitives face, are to be dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
Judge Zane Anderson ordered a presentence investigation for the three fugitives at Tuesday’s hearing.
“I will conditionally accept and approve of the plea agreement,” Anderson said. “After the presentence investigation, if there is any information that would cause me to change my mind, I would give the defendants an opportunity to withdraw their plea or change their plea.”
However, he said he did not expect to find anything in the investigation that would change his mind.
Jacquelin Mink was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison as part of a plea agreement Friday. The agreement stipulated she give authorities information about the incident and testify if a trial were held.
Henning said the information Jacquelin Mink provided after her sentencing helped tremendously.
“The information that she gave us allowed us to pinpoint who had done what,” Henning said after the hearing.
Henning feels the sentences the four face are fair.
“They’re a big cost to the state of North Dakota, but we’ve got to enforce our laws,” Henning said.
The defendants’ attorneys either declined comment or were unavailable after the hearing.