Anoka County authorities give notice
ECM Post Review
A 40-year-old man who in 1997 was found guilty of killing his then-fiancee’s 3-year-old girl at a farmhouse in Shakopee is now living under supervised release at a residence in the Stacy-Linwood Township area of Anoka County.
Brian Patrick Merkt, who is being supervised under a statutory program called intensive supervised release, is required to remain on GPS electronic monitoring and have frequent contacts with authorities both in the community and where he works for an extended period of time to assure compliance, according to Dylan Warkentin, director of community corrections for Anoka County.
The community in that geographical area was notified around in March by a mass mailing approach that went beyond the notification necessary for a Level 2 offender, Warkentin noted.
Warkentin said his office has fielded at least four phone calls from community residents who inquired about the issue.
“He appears to be in compliance with supervision at this time,” Warkentin said. “Part of the notification is done to make sure there is a partnership with the community, so if there is suspect behavior, we welcome (information about) that.”
Merkt, who was 23 years old at the time of the March 9, 1996, incident, was found guilty of murder in the second degree by a Scott County jury. Jurors found him not guilty of two counts of raping the girl and not guilty of two counts of first-degree intentional murder.
Merkt, whose sentence doesn’t expire until April 3, 2022, was able to be released in January since he had served 200 months, or two-thirds of his 300-month sentence in state prison, without issue, Warkentin explained. Merkt must complete the remaining third of his sentence on supervised release.
Merkt proposed a living arrangement, and it was approved by the commissioner of corrections.
Warkentin said Merkt originally could have faced a 150-month sentence per state sentencing guidelines, but the court departed from the guidelines and doubled the sentence.
If he complies with his supervised release, he remains in the community under supervision until his sentence expires in 2022. If he fails, the commissioner of corrections can have him return to prison for a certain time or the rest of the eight years, Warkentin said.
The commissioner of corrections must release him if he has served the minimum two-thirds of his sentence without issue. After completing two-thirds of his sentence in prison, there was no further reason to detain him because of his behavior. There was enough good behavior for him to be released on time, Warkentin said.
Due to Merkt being a Level 2 sex offender, the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for meeting the Level 2 community notification criteria. Under statute, law enforcement could have limited its notification to day cares, schools and places where kids congregate, Warkentin explained.
In this case, based on the seriousness of the offense, he continued, authorities decided to mail the entire community surrounding Merkt’s residence after determining the geographical area.
“They did more than what a Level 2 notification requires,” Warkentin added.
For concerns from the community, the agent of record is Scot Wilson, who can be reached at 763-433-3174.