Christenson faces seven felony charges
Daniel Craig Christenson, 43, was charged in St. Croix County Court Wednesday afternoon related to the nine-hour standoff at 1321 St. Croix Heights on Oct. 17.
Christenson will be facing three counts of first-degree intentional homicide (class B felony) and four counts of first-degree reckless endangerment (class F felony).
Christenson, who came to court in a wheelchair, was immediately booked into the St. Croix County jail. He was fingerprinted and provided a DNA swab. To the displeasure of the parents of the teens involved in the shooting/standoff, Christenson faced a $50,000 signature bond. What it means is that he was able to pay $15,000 cash and be released - that's what happened later Wednesday afternoon.
His attorney, Earl Gray, said that he will return to his mother's home in Lakeville.
"He is currently taking 12 medications and is under nursing care," Gray said. "He's not going anywhere."
As part of the signature bond, Christenson and his attorney agreed that the defendant will not come to Wisconsin (unless for trial-related meetings) and is prohibited from having contact with any of the three juveniles involved in the standoff incident. That order reinforces the temporary restraining orders initiated by the juveniles' parents.
Assistant District Attorney Frank Collins explained the signature bond, saying, "I believe it is adequate."
"It is my understanding that Christenson was discharged from the hospital two weeks ago and does not appear to be a threat. There is no reason to believe that he will not appear."
Judge Edward Vlack agreed with the recommendations, but expressed sentiments that the signature bond did not fit the crime.
"We're looking at three intentional homicide charges and four reckless endangerment charges," Vlack said. "These are serious charges."
Each homicide charge would carry a maximum sentence of 60 years and the reckless endangerment, 12.5 years and a $25,000 fine.
Just after midnight on Oct. 18, Christenson was shot as he exited his house armed with a gun aimed at officers. The nine-hour standoff began with a frantic 911 call from his son Zachary Christenson, 19, who was inside the house with three friends when his father began firing a gun in the home around 5 p.m. on Oct. 17.
The teens were able to escape through a basement window in the home but not before Zachary was shot at by his father. Dan Christenson suffered four police gunshot wounds during the incident and was treated at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
Christenson was represented by Minneapolis attorney Gray at the hearing, but will also be represented by Minneapolis attorney Joseph S. Friedberg.
Christenson's next court (conference) appearance is scheduled Thursday, Jan. 21, at 10 a.m.