It Took 32 Years, But Mark Shemukenas’ Killer Has Been Caught


In 1977, St. Paul’s Mark Shemukenas, a potter, was found dead: bound with electrical wire, stabbed, and castrated. “Police at the time suspected Shemukenas [pictured] had been killed by a gay lover, and they placed posters in gay bars in St. Paul and Minneapolis, but leads did not pan out,” remembers the Pioneer Press. But in 1983, Richard Hubert Ireland Jr. “emerged as a suspect after being arrested for groping a 15-year-old boy in a sauna and kissing him on the mouth. He was convicted of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. His fingerprints were taken after his arrest and matched one found on a cabinet in Shemukenas’ apartment, but tests results on hair samples did not match. Ireland told police at the time that he did not remember ever being in the apartment, according to press clippings.” The case went cold, until investigators last summer began matching DNA evidence from the crime scene.

And bingo, they found was irrefutable evidence Ireland was the killer. He was arrested Monday in a halfway house. On Tuesday, he was charged with second-degree murder.

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