WRIGHT COUNTY, MN – A grand jury indicted three individuals in connection with the June 1 murder of 19-year-old Cheyenne Clough of Buffalo, at Crow Spring Park in Franklin Township, Wright County Attorney Tom Kelly announced Thursday.
Shawn Tyler Benson, 21, of Maple Lake, was indicted for first-degree premeditated murder and second-degree intentional murder.
Justin Michael Jensen, 29, of Maple Lake, and Edward Victor Zelko, 26, of Buffalo, were both indicted for aiding and abetting first-degree premeditated murder and aiding and abetting second-degree intentional murder.
According to a report from Kelly, Clough and her boyfriend, Devon Boyles, had been staying at Jensen’s residence in Maple Lake, while Natasha Brandenburger, Callie Anderson, and Shawn Benson were also living at Jensen’s residence.
Jensen contacted a bounty hunter May 31, and had Boyles arrested on outstanding warrants. This reportedly caused Clough to become very upset and a heated argument took place with those who resided at Jensen’s residence. Clough was told to leave. When she refused to leave they threatened to call the cops on her. Clough then threatened to call the cops on one of the residents who had an outstanding warrant. The argument went into the early morning hours of June 1.
Jensen, Benson and Zelko had some discussion in Zelko’s car, which was parked in front of Jensen’s home. Jensen had his .22 caliber revolver that was in the house brought to Zelko’s car. Jensen reportedly ordered a “hit” on Clough to have her killed.
Jensen reportedly went into his home and told Clough she was leaving and that Zelko would be giving her a ride home to her mother’s place in Buffalo. Benson went with as a passenger. The time was about 2:30 a.m.
Zelko and Benson reportedly took Clough to Crow Springs Park in Franklin Township. Around 3 a.m., Benson, aided by Zelko, reportedly shot Clough four times with Jensen’s .22 caliber revolver. Zelko and Benson then returned back to Jensen’s and informed Jensen that Clough had been shot.
Around 6 a.m., Jensen, Benson, Zelko, Brandenburger, and Anderson fled to International Falls, arriving the evening of June 2. The murder weapon was reportedly thrown into a river in northern Minnesota.
At about 8 a.m. June 1, Clough’s body was discovered in the park and she was transported to North Memorial Hospital, where she died June 4.
Wright County Sheriff’s Office, working with law enforcement agencies in northern Minnesota, were able to locate and apprehend Zelko in Staples June 4. Jensen, Benson, Brandenburger, and Anderson were located and apprehended outside of International Falls June 5.
Kelly called the work of the Wright County Sheriff’s Office and law enforcement agencies in northern Minnesota remarkable.
“From the moment Ms. Clough’s body was found, the Sheriff’s Department investigated and worked nonstop until those responsible for murdering Ms. Clough could be taken into custody,” Kelly said in a press release. “Their work was truly outstanding.”
In Minnesota, the law does not allow county attorneys to charge first-degree premeditated murder. That requires the work of a grand jury. Brian Lutes, Chief of Criminal Division, assisted Kelly with the grand jury.
“I would like to note the importance of citizens who participate in the grand jury proceedings and the individual sacrifices they make when they carry out this very important function in our criminal justice system,” Kelly said. “I appreciated their time and commitment to hearing this case. I would also like to acknowledge those citizens who came forth with information during the investigation of this case.”
Kelly also expressed sympathy to the family and friends of Clough.
He noted all three defendants are scheduled to make their first appearance on the indictment Wednesday, Aug. 31, in Wright County District Court.