Bedford found not guilty of murder, guilty of selling drugs

Too many people could have given Gosiak the fatal dose of heroin 

By Tina SnellStaff Writer

Brandon Clarence Bedford, 26, was found not guilty Thursday of third degree murder in the heroin death of Miranda Gosiak of Little Falls. He was found guilty of third degree sale of a controlled substance (heroin) which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.

At 1:43 p.m., the jury, after nearly three hours of deliberation, returned the not-guilty verdict. Members were not shown that the prosecution was able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Bedford was the person who gave Gosiak the lethal dose of heroin.

After snorting heroin at the home of Tanya Ashby Feb. 27, 2012, Gosiak spent the night. She was seen the next day by all occupants of the house, beginning at about 8 a.m. At about 3 p.m. she was found dead in Bedford’s bedroom.

Defense Attorney Gary Wolf of Minneapolis said that the prosecution did a good job in presenting the facts but, “The jury did the right thing.”

Brandon Bedford

Brandon Bedford

Bedford admitted in a taped interview Feb. 28, 2012, that Gosiak, Ashby and he had done heroin the night of Feb. 27, 2012, even though Gosiak had just returned from treatment and everyone was aware of that fact.

But, Bedford said that he never gave her any other drugs or any more heroin after that.

The defense team of Wolf and Holly Frame presented in their closing arguments that there was ample opportunity for others to have given Gosiak the heroin that killed her.

“It could have been Bedford; there are many questions,” Wolf said. “It could have been Christian Dahn (a resident of the home where Gosiak died and at that time, a heroin user). It could have been Tanya Ashby (the owner of the home where Gosiak died and at that time, a heroin user). It could have been Waylon Beto who Gosiak went to see at about midnight Feb. 27 to pick up Narcotics Anonymous tags. You don’t go out at midnight to pick those up.

“It also could have been an old acquaintance of Gosiak’s who she admitted she had recently relapsed with,” Wolf said. “Or it could have been Gosiak herself. Beto said (when she came to his home) she looked as if she was ‘messed up.’ Ashby had said in her statement that Gosiak knew where to find drugs. There are too many possibilities. There is reasonable doubt.”

Wolf continued to say that the time of the possession was irrelevant.

Miranda Gosiak

Miranda Gosiak

“It doesn’t matter how long they (Bedford and Gosiak) were in bed, it’s when she got the heroin. Ashby lied; she knew what she had done. She changed her story to convince others of her innocence,” he said.

In Assistant Morrison County Attorney Todd Kosovich’s final arguments, he said that Gosiak went downstairs the morning of Feb. 28, the day she died, but returned to bed at about 8 a.m.

“When selling heroin, it is a risk of death to another,” said Kosovich. “Even without intent, it’s a crime. Bedford bought heroin, brought it to Little Falls and we believe he shared it on Feb. 28, 2012. He never intended to kill Miranda, but it was his heroin.”

Both Dahn and Ashby had murder charges dismissed for testifying truthfully at Bedford’s trial.

“Dahn told us he was a user in February 2012. He had nothing to lose by telling us that,” said Kosovich. “Ashby admitted she lied, but she was scared. Her friend had just died in her house. She pleaded guilty to other charges and testified truthfully. The state made deals with them to find out what happened.”

Kosovich told the jury that Ashby had said she never saw Gosiak use on Feb. 28, 2012, just on Feb. 27.

“And take it for what it’s worth about the story (which came out for the first time in Bedford’s testimony Wednesday) about Ashby offering Adavan to help relax Gosiak,” he said.

Kosovich reminded the jury that in Ashby’s testimony, she had said that when Bedford had come downstairs the morning of Feb. 28, 2012, he was unusually quiet. She said he had told her that, “He (or we) shouldn’t have given her that last line.” She said he was shaking his head. Kosovich said that line spoken by Bedford was the essence of the truth.

No other heroin was found in the house except in Ashby’s purse. Kosovich said that at first Bedford said he gave his to Ashby, then Bedford said he sold it to her. Then it came out Ashby did not want it.

“Bedford is the only one who knows what happened to his heroin,” said Kosovich. “He could have gotten rid of it when the cops and paramedics were running around Ashby’s house.”

Bedford’s sentencing will take place 45-60 days after he takes care of other charges in Hennepin and another county.

“I am grateful to the jury for convicting Mr. Bedford for the felony sale of heroin. He will certainly be punished for that offense,” said Morrison County Attorney Brian Middendorf. “Obviously, I am disappointed with the verdict on the charge of third degree murder, but I respect the decision of the jury and I appreciate their service. I know it was not an easy decision for them to make.

“Heroin is a growing problem in this county and around the state. It is a drug that destroys lives,” he said.  “My office will continue to vigorously prosecute individuals responsible for transporting heroin into this community.”

  • tmac

    And what did Ashby get out of this? A couple months in jail.
    IMO she deserves a lot more time than that.

  • Jody Scott Olson

    I think this case and the charges filed is a strange and concerning trend. I’m not sure how a jury could have arrived upon any other verdict. Unless the deceased was forced to use drugs against her will, pressing murder charges seems zealous. The deceased heroin user knew the risks, having just left treatment, she also knew where to get help. Pressing murder charge seems like a slippery slope.

    I have a relative who was known as an alcoholic by his doctors. Nonetheless, his doctor prescribed a drug that was lethal if mixed with enough alcohol. Despite knowing the risks he drank anyway and he died.Should the doctor be charged with murder?

    Idk…I thought the charges filed were more the story, than the story.

  • robin hensel

    I agree with all of Jody’s points. This is a troubling new trend to charge only the middlemen with murder and not the kingpins. Kingpins continue to operate profitably for decades and negatively affect the lives of countless generations of children because law enforcement refuse to prosecute the top dogs. Unless someone is forced to take the drugs or injected against their will, the responsibility falls on the user, not the seller. In no way am I condoning drug dealing. Quite the opposite. I have always taken a strong stand against drug use and drug dealing, but this trend is just wrong.

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