Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Brutal 1977 Murder of Gay Man, Mark Shemukenas, May Have been Solved

The brutal 1977 murder of Mark Shemukenas may have been solved. Shemukenas, a 30-year-old pottery maker was found bound, stabbed and castrated in his home. Police at the time suspected Shemukenas had been killed by a gay lover and they placed posters in gay bars in St. Paul and Minneapolis, but the leads did not pan out. Today, Richard Hubert Ireland, Jr., was charged with second-degree murder. reports:
Today, the Ramsey County Attorney's office charged a Duluth man with second-degree murder in connection with the mutilation-slaying of Mark Shemukenas, a 30-year-old pottery maker found bound, stabbed and castrated in his home in 1977. Richard Hubert Ireland, Jr., 59, made his first court appearance in Ramsey County District Court, where bail was set at $500,000. He is being held at the Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center. His next court date is October 6.

According to charges and reports in the Pioneer Press at the time, a landlord found Shemukenas' nude body in a kneeling position on his couch in his apartment at 1914 Chelton Ave., his hands tied with electrical wire. He had been castrated and slashed by butcher knives in the neck and abdomen. His mouth had been taped shut, and a two-tined fork was stuck in his chest. An autopsy report showed Shemukenas bled to death, but police noticed little blood on the couch. His body had apparently been moved there from the bed, where investigators found six knives, a pair of scissors and a roll of masking tape. READ MORE