BCA searching for convicted murderer in Twin Cities

Law enforcement officials in the Twin Cities are on alert for a Windom man who is convicted of murder.

Monday afternoon, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) said 58-year-old Ralph Leslie Apmann failed to show up in Cottonwood County court for his murder trial. He was convicted of second-degree murder Tuesday afternoon.

Officials say Apmann, who was out on bail, may be armed with a 9 mm handgun and an AR-15 rifle, and it’s believed that he came to the Twin Cities metro area. Anyone who sees Apmann should not approach him, the BCA warned.

“I’ve had 30 jury trials, never once … everything’s always, the defendant’s there all the way through the trial, never an issue where somebody didn’t show up,” Cottonwood County Attorney Nick Anderson said.

Anderson said the prosecution rested its case on Friday and was expecting to hear Apmann claim self-defense on Monday when he failed to show up.

The murder charge stems from a fight outside a Windom bar back in 2021. Apmann and the victim allegedly shot a couple games of pool, then they got into a wrestling match and Apmann placed the victim in a chokehold, prosecutors say.

The victim, 40-year-old Juan Morales-Rivera, was strangled to death in the incident.

“As a community member, it’s not something, that we see often, murder trials, I can maybe only recall one or two in my lifetime,” Mari Harries, the owner of a cafe across the street from the courthouse, said.

Authorities haven’t said why they believe Apmann may be in the Twin Cities but urged anyone who sees him to stay away and call 911.

He’s described as being around 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighing 230 pounds with a bald head, gray facial hair and hazel eyes.

Cottonwood County Courthouse