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Charges added against man accused of murdering Thief River Falls woman

A grand jury indicted a Thief River Falls man on Thursday who was arrested in March after a woman’s body was found face-down and bound in a home that investigators said was intentionally started on fire.

A first-degree murder charge was added against 23-year-old Devon James Pulczinski. He also is facing second-degree murder and arson in relation to 23-year-old Alexandra Jo Ellingson’s death.

An affidavit for Pulczinski’s arrest said Ellingson’s body was found in the charred remains of an apartment at 307 ½ Arnold Ave. S. on March 27. Her hands and feet were bound, fabric covered her head and a power supply cord was wrapped around her neck, the court document said.

The Ramsey County Minn. Medical Examiner determined Ellingson’s cause of death was homicide due to asphyxiation.

Firefighters were called to the home, which is split into an upper and lower apartment, around 5:30 p.m. After extinguishing the blaze, they notified officers there was a body inside, the affidavit said.

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Investigators found fabric covered in ignitable liquids on Ellingson’s back, according to the affidavit. They believe the fire was purposely started in the living room and kitchen, on top of Ellingson’s body, the court document said.

Before her death on March 27, Pulczinski texted his former roommate, who was arrested in the home the week before on suspicion of selling methamphetamine, that “after today they are gonna be looking for me so I gotta hide for a bit,” the affidavit said.

Pulczinski was arrested that night after several friends contacted police with concerns that he may have murdered Ellingson.

He’s being held on a $1 million cash bond with conditions.

Pulczinski could now face life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder. He’s scheduled to appear in court again Aug. 6.

Tess covers crime and courts for the Grand Forks Herald. She previously worked for the Associated Press, Lincoln Journal Star, Omaha World-Herald and The Voice News. Reach her at (701) 780-1267, twilliams@gfherald.com or on Twitter @ByTessWilliams.
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