Man sentenced for stalking joggers in West Duluth
DULUTH—A Carlton County man who admitted to stalking multiple joggers in West Duluth last spring will spend the next several months in the Northeast Regional Corrections Center.
Tyler Rodney Stohlberg, 22, of Wright, received his sentence Thursday, Feb. 1, in State District Court in Duluth after a judge last year rejected a plea agreement that would have allowed him to avoid additional time in custody.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Dale Harris, who in November cited public safety concerns in rejecting the first agreement, gave Stohlberg a two-year jail sentence, but stayed the time for probation with several conditions, including nine months at NERCC.
"I know this isn't what you were hoping for today," the judge told Stohlberg, "but I don't want to see you back here in two years, four years, five years with felony charges because this behavior continues to escalate."
Under an amended agreement with the St. Louis County Attorney's Office, Stohlberg renewed his guilty pleas to two gross misdemeanor counts of stalking and a misdemeanor charge of indecent exposure.
Stohlberg admitted at his original plea hearing in September that he pursued two joggers in West Duluth while on his way to work last May. Authorities said he stalked the women in his vehicle and on foot, exposing himself in at least one of the cases.
He also allegedly told police of a third victim, who never came forward to authorities, and admitted that he had "impulse control issues with sexual behavior," according to court documents.
The two identified victims spoke at the sentencing hearing Thursday. Both told Harris they were on early morning runs to train for Grandma's Marathon when they were aggressively pursued by Stohlberg.
"I feel a little less safe in Duluth, and realize that anything can happen at any time," said one victim, a longtime West Duluth resident. "Now I lock the doors at all times and I'm afraid to be with a man I don't know. I hope for justice in this case. I just want to live in my community safely."
The other victim recalled being chased on foot by Stohlberg, prompting her to seek safety at a nearby store. She told the judge she always felt comfortable jogging, deliberately following well-traveled roads with more lighting.
"My space was violated," she testified. "My confidence was shaken. In the place I call home, I had to start looking over my shoulder wondering if he was coming again."
Stohlberg's defense attorney, Steve Hynum, asked the court to consider the fact that his client has recently obtained a new job, has been voluntarily receiving sex-offender treatment and is expecting his first child in August. He suggested a probationary term without further jail time.
Stohlberg also apologized to the victims in attendance.
"I never wanted to hurt you," he said. "I just want to say I'm sorry and to get help to make sure this doesn't happen to them or anyone else again."
Harris imposed consecutive one-year jail terms, which he stayed for three years of supervised probation. The conditions include nine months at NERCC — of which Stohlberg is required to serve at least six months.
The judge thanked the two victims for testifying and said he found the circumstances to be more severe than a typical gross misdemeanor case. He ordered Stohlberg to report for his sentence on Monday, noting that he should be released just in time to see the birth of his child.
"I want to make sure you get the appropriate treatment," Harris told him. "One, obviously because you need it. And two, because we need to keep the public safe."