Man pleads guilty to 2019 murder of Outing woman

The man accused of killing a 35-year-old Outing woman in 2019 has entered a guilty plea.

According to the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office, Joshua Emil Karjala pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Thursday.

Karjala is accused of strangling Michelle Mae.

Man charged with 2nd-degree murder of Cass County woman

According to court documents, Mae was reported missing by her family on Oct. 3, 2019. Her body was found on Oct. 15, 2019, by authorities after executing a search warrant at Karjala’s residence. The criminal complaint clarifies that Bryan Karjala, Joshua’s father, owned the property but lived in a camper outside the residence. Joshua Karjala showed up on the investigator’s radar after one of Mae’s friends came forward with a text message that contained a screenshot of a conversation between him and Mae.

According to court documents, on Oct. 8 Karjala was speaking with a nurse at the Aitkin County Jail when he allegedly told the nurse he "may have killed a girl" while using meth-laced ecstasy. Karjala allegedly told the nurse, "he got violent and choked out a girl several times, but he could not remember anything due to his drug usage," court documents said. On Oct. 15, officers executed a third search warrant on Karjala’s residence. It was during this search that authorities, with the help of a K-9, found Mae’s body in a crawlspace under the north side of the house.

Karjala is set to be sentenced in June.