Attorney: $100K Award in Decker Case Signals Problems

Updated: 12/18/2012 10:25 AM KSTP.com By: Jennie Olson

A criminal defense attorney says the $100,000 reward now being offered for information about the murder of Cold Spring Officer Tom Decker signals problems in the case.

Attorney Earl Gray says the award, which is being offered by a nonprofit called Spotlight on Crime, shows investigators may be at a dead end.

Officer Decker was shot to death just before 11 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, behind Winner’s Bar in Cold Spring.

“We want someone to come forward with any piece of information they have, no matter how menial it may seem to them,” said BCA Superintendent Wade Setter. “Those leads may become relevant as we assemble this investigation.”

The BCA said people can send tips anonymously and that they’ll do everything within their power to protect witnesses.

“We’ll continue to work this case until it’s solved,” Setter said. “We’re determined and dedicated to finding Officer Decker’s killer.”

“This is a cold-blooded killing, and the sooner we get the individual responsible for this behind bars, the better we’ll all sleep tonight,” said Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner.

On Monday and Tuesday, various dive teams will be examining the Sauk River to search for the 20-gauge shotgun related to this case, said BCA Assistant Superintendent Drew Evans. The FBI will assist with that search.

Evans said they are also looking for information related to a black minivan with loud exhaust that was seen leaving the area around the time of the crime. Witnesses have said the van was seen leaving the parking lot and traveling westbound on Main Street.

Decker leaves behind two sons and two daughters. He was known as a hometown boy and the department jokester.

“It’s been a battle,” Cold Spring Police Chief Phil Jones said. “We lost a fellow officer and a friend. He was appreciated by all because of his sense of humor and ability to light up a room. It feels like we all have a hole in our hearts that can’t be filled. Finding the killer would start that healing.”

Anyone with information can call the Stearns County tip line at 877-782-5683, the BCA tip line at 877-996-6222, or email tips to bca.tips@state.mn.us. So far they’ve received more than 200 tips from the public and investigators are following up on all of them.

The case is being investigated by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office.