Man with Lengthy Felony History Now Facing New Charges for Weapons, Auto Theft and Assault in Blaine Incident

A Minneapolis man previously accused of kidnapping and causing a traumatic brain injury to a Coon Rapids woman four years ago is now facing a raft of new charges including weapons, motor vehicle theft, fleeing police and assault of a police officer.

Russell Wayne Melanson, Anoka County Jail

A Minneapolis man previously accused of kidnapping and causing a traumatic brain injury to a Coon Rapids woman four years ago is now facing a raft of new charges including weapons, motor vehicle theft, fleeing police and assault of a police officer.

Russell Wayne Melanson, who has 24 prior Minnesota convictions including at least eight felonies, is now facing six new charges, three of them felonies, following an incident this week in Blaine, according to charging documents filed in Anoka County on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Feb. 18, Blaine police were dispatched to a report of a stolen vehicle located in a business parking lot on the 10900 block of Ulysses Street Northeast in Blaine, MN. According to the criminal complaint, the vehicle had been stolen out of Forest Lake the day before.

When police arrived at the location, they found the vehicle, a black GMC Yukon SUV, running with the doors locked and displaying stolen license plates that registered to another vehicle.

Officers viewed surveillance video that showed a white male in a black hat, jacket and jeans exiting the vehicle and entering the bathroom at the drug store location. When officers approached the bathroom, they could hear a garbage bin inside the bathroom being shuffled around.

When the male, later identified as Melanson, exited the bathroom, police told him he was being detained. Melanson fled through the store’s emergency exit and a foot pursuit ensued.

Once officers detained Melanson, he became uncooperative and struggled with officers while trying to escape and resist being handcuffed. Ultimately, officers had to use a taser to subdue and handcuff Melanson, and during the struggle one officer sustained a knee injury, the complaint said.

Officers subsequently searched the garbage bin inside the bathroom and found the keys to the stolen Yukon and a .45 caliber Ruger handgun loaded with three rounds, including one in the firing chamber. The serial number on the gun had been obliterated.

Melanson is under a lifetime ban from possessing firearms due to his prior convictions for violent crimes.

Melanson was convicted by a jury in 2016 on felony domestic assault and theft of a motor vehicle in a case where he was also originally charged with kidnapping. Court filings related to that case say that in Jan. 2016, Melanson entered the bedroom of a Coon Rapids woman, with whom he had a prior relationship, and choked her with a belt, bound her with duct tape, stole items from her residence, kidnapped her in her own vehicle and held her captive over the course of two days. 

The court document stated that the woman sustained several injuries including a brain injury. The jury acquitted Melanson on the kidnapping charge and another charge of false imprisonment in the case. The court imposed a 45-month “career offender” prison sentence for the domestic assault conviction and a concurrent 26-month sentence on the motor vehicle theft conviction. Melanson eventually appealed the “career offender” sentence and received a 12-month reduction on the domestic assault conviction.

Melanson, 33, also has prior felony convictions for terroristic threats, fleeing police (2), fourth-degree assault of a correctional employee involving demonstrable bodily harm, burglary and theft. 

Melanson is facing six charges in the Blaine incident including felony counts of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, possession of a firearm with an altered or removed serial number and motor vehicle theft, as well as gross misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree assault and obstruction and one misdemeanor count of fleeing police.

Melanson, whose address is listed on the 2100 block of Willow Avenue North in Minneapolis, made his first court appearance on Thursday and remains in custody in Anoka County Jail on $25,000 bail. He is scheduled to make his next court appearance on the charges on March 11 and could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted on the prohibited person charge. Convictions on any of the six charges in the case would likely be ordered to be served concurrently under Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines.

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