Updates from the Ming Sen Shiue trialby Tom Crann, Minnesota Public Radio,
Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The man who committed one of Minnesota's most sensational crimes has been back on trial in Anoka for the past week.
Ming Sen Shiue was convicted of kidnapping his former math teacher and raping her over a period of weeks in 1980. He also abducted her daughter and killed a 6-year-old boy who saw the kidnapping.
Now, after 30 years behind bars, authorities are trying to have him locked up in a state sex offender program if he's ever released from prison.
Tim Nelson has been attending the trial and joined host Tom Crann on the phone from Anoka.
CRANN: Tim, what's the latest from the courthouse there?
NELSON: Well, attorneys wrapped up testimony in front of District Court Judge Jenny Walker Jasper this afternoon. They've spent seven days now arguing whether Shiue ought to be sent to Moose Lake for sex offender treatment. He's been held in federal prison in Texas lately, but the bureau of prisons is scheduled to review his case in July. It's the second time they'll consider paroling him, but he was denied last year.
CRANN: For those who might not have been around back then, what happened back in 1980.
NELSON: Well, it's pretty gruesome. Anyone with kids listening, might want to turn down the volume. Shiue was a small businessman. He had an electronic repair business. But it turned out that he'd been harboring these fantasies about Mary Stauffer his 9th grade algebra teacher for 15 years, and he started to stalk her.
One day, he ambushed her outside a hair salon, where she'd been with her 8-year-old daughter. He had this elaborate plan to kidnap Mary and sexually assault her.
It worked, but he was spotted by a 6-year-old boy, Jason Wilkman. So he kidnapped him, too, and killed him to keep the boy from telling. He kept the Stauffers prisoner in his house in Roseville for seven weeks and repeatedly raped Mary before they managed to slip out of their restraints and escape.
That was really just the start of this case, Tom. Shiue was tried for kidnapping in federal court and convicted. Then he went to trial for the little boy's killing in Anoka, and during the middle of it, he jumped up in court and slashed Mary Stauffer's face with a knife he'd smuggled in from jail.
He tried a jailbreak once and mounted an insanity defense. It was just one shock after another back in 1980 and 1981.
CRANN: This trial was a bit more subdued, I take it.
NELSON: Very much so. Shiue is 59 years old now. He's got arthritis and uses a walker. I sat right behind him for several days, and noticed that he's got a slight head tremor now, like you might see in someone with Parkinson's disease. He did take the stand for a couple hours last week, but he's just been watching quietly while the psychological experts have been debating whether or not he's still dangerous after all these years.
CRANN: And what were they saying? Did they think he could be let out?
NELSON: No. There were three experts who examined him, one appointed by the court, one by prosecutors, and other by Shiue's attorney. All of them agreed that he hadn't gotten sex offender treatment and that he shouldn't leave prison without it.
Two of them, the court appointed examiner and the prosecution expert, said he belonged in treatment in Moose Lake and still really hadn't come to terms with his crime. The expert for the defense team said that there may be a better option than being indefinitely locked up in Moose Lake. But even Shiue's own examiner said he's got unresolved mental health issues.
CRANN: When we talked last week, you said the Stauffers had been in court for the trial. Did they have anything to say today?
NELSON: They did, and it was kind of surprising. Both Mary Stauffer and her daughter, Beth, said that after all these years, they'd still learned things about their ordeal, like that Shiue was planning to kill them all along, and how narrowly they'd escaped with their lives. They also found out that Shiue had had a crush on Mary since 9th grade. They'd suspected these things at the time, but heard some of it from Shiue himself for the first time this week.
Beth Stauffer also said today that she actually felt a little safer sitting through this trial, because she'd learned that it may still be years before Shiue is out and that he'll be closely monitored for the rest of his life, no matter what the outcome of this trial is.
CRANN: And when can we expect that outcome?
NELSON: The judge said she expects to rule by October first. But just today, an investigator for the defense testified that practically speaking it could be four years at least before Shiue is let out of prison.
CRANN: Thanks for the update.
NELSON: You're welcome.
- All Things Considered, 04/27/2010, 5:49 p.m.
Tom Crann is the host of All Things Considered for MPR News.