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Appeal denied in Minnesota ex-police officer's murder convictions

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has denied an appeal from a former police officer who killed one person and wounded two others in a shooting inside an Iron Range bar in 2010.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has denied an appeal from a former police officer who killed one person and wounded two others in a shooting inside an Iron Range bar in 2010.

Jason Mark Musburger, now 53, is serving a 40-year prison sentence in the triple shooting inside Jim's Sports Club Bar & Grill in Chisholm on March 6, 2010.

Musburger, a Chisholm police officer in the 1980s, killed 40-year-old Edward Walberg, critically wounded Cale Nelson with two shots to the torso and shot Larry Elj once in the shoulder.

He challenged a district court's finding that he failed to act within a required two-year period to seek post-conviction relief. He argued that he should have been granted an exception because he "did not receive correspondence from his appellate attorney and was unaware that two of his pleas were inaccurate."

Musburger pleaded guilty in State District Court in Hibbing to charges of intentional second-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in 2012.


He testified at the time that he went to a table his ex-wife was sitting at in the bar with the intention of shooting himself in front of her. He said when he pulled out the gun Nelson and Elj attempted to take it away from him. He had no further explanation for the shootings.

Musburger later tried to withdraw the pleas at his sentencing hearing, but his request was denied by 6th Judicial District Judge Mark Starr.

Last September, Musburger revived his challenge to his convictions, again asking the district court to allow him to withdraw the pleas. Starr denied the motion, finding that it came more than a year beyond the expiration of the two-year window.

In its decision Monday, the appeals court said Musburger failed to satisfy an "interests-of-justice exception" to have the motion heard. He had not previously asked the appeals court to review the case.

Musburger remains in custody at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Rush City, according to online prison records.

Related Topics: CRIMEPOLICE
Tom Olsen has covered crime and courts for the Duluth News Tribune since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and a lifelong resident of the city. Readers can contact Olsen at 218-723-5333 or tolsen@duluthnews.com.
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