Goers pleads guilty in Sherman car-jacking case

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE — A 31-year-old Minneapolis man accused of taking a hostage in the Town of Sherman and stealing his car at knifepoint in April of 2012 has been found guilty in Dunn County Circuit Court.

Jonlee Goers pleaded no-contest on March 15, and the Honorable Judge Rod Smeltzer found him guilty on the amended charges of three felony counts of false imprisonment, possession of methamphetamine and taking and driving a vehicle without consent.

Goers originally was charged with five felonies: armed robbery, false imprisonment, operating a vehicle without consent and possessing a weapon, taking hostages, and taking and driving a vehicle without consent.

Steffen Demeter, the hostage in the case, testified during a preliminary hearing last May that he had been looking for his cat to bring it in the house for the night when he saw a man later identified as Goers standing on the steps of his Town of Sherman home.

When Demeter asked if he could help him with something, Demeter testified that Goers said he got locked out of his cabin and asked to use Demeter’s bathroom.

Demeter said he invited Goers into his home and that he then noticed a bottle of liquor in Goers’ back pocket when Goers turned and walked into the kitchen in spite of Demeter’s directions to the bathroom.

Goers ordered Demeter at knifepoint to drive him to the Twin Cities in Demeter’s car and said that he did not want to use his own car because he thought the police would be looking for him.

Later on Goers told Demeter that the other car was out of gasoline.

Demeter convinced Goers they should buy gas for Goers’ car “so we can get you on your way” and pulled into the Kwik Trip off Exit 28 on Interstate-94.

Demeter testified that when he pulled up to the gas pumps, Goers “freaked” and said, “I can’t be here” and “get back on the highway.”

Because it was a Friday night, the Kwik Trip was busy, Demeter said, and so was Highway 128.

As Demeter was waiting for traffic so he could pull out onto the highway, he decided to bail out of the car and make a run for it and ran back to the Kwik Trip parking lot.

Demeter testified that he heard tires spinning and squealing and saw his car, a 1992 Subaru Legacy, driving to the south.

After a high-speed chase, Goers eventually was apprehended in Pierce County, and Demeter’s car was recovered from a corn field.

According to the criminal complaint, the car that Goers had been driving had been stolen from the Twin Cities area, and the license plates on the car had been stolen from the Superior area.

Demeter testified during the preliminary hearing that Goers had told him “meth is ruining my life,” and “I threw it in the woods,” and that Goers said he had been using methamphetamine that day.

According to on-line court records, a victim impact statement was filed with the court on February 22.

At the March 15 hearing, Judge Smeltzer ordered a pre-sentence investigation.

Goers is scheduled to appear in Dunn County Circuit Court for a sentencing hearing on May 31.

A $50,000 cash bond was set for Goers on April 30, 2012.