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Charges: Northern Minn. Man Admits To Strangling 19-Year-Old Woman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Menahga man faces murder charges after police say he admitted to strangling a 19-year-old woman over the weekend.

Harley David Leritz, 21, is charged with second-degree intentional murder in connection to the death of a Park Rapids woman whom authorities have not identified, court documents show.

Officers with the Park Rapids Police Department found the victim unresponsive with a pillow over her face early Monday morning in her apartment on 113 3rd Street East. An autopsy confirmed she died of asphyxiation by strangulation, a criminal complaint says.

Investigators determined that Leritz was the last person seen with the victim on Sunday. Surveillance video at the apartment complex showed Leritz coming and going from the building several times that day.

When he returned to the apartment on Monday afternoon, police found him, and he agreed to go to the police department. There,
Leritz told officers that he had sexual relations with the victim and that he killed her by choking her for 20-30 minutes, the criminal complaint said.

If convicted of the second-degree murder charge, Leritz could face a penalty of 40 years in prison. He also has a prior conviction for fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct stemming from 2012.

On Wednesday, Leritz appeared in court, and a judge set his bail at $1,500,000. His next court appearance is slated for March 17.

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