Attempted murder charges filed last September against a Woodbury teen who is accused of plotting to cut out the heart of a nearby resident were dropped Tuesday in a Washington County District courtroom.
Judge Elizabeth H. Martin made a decision to drop the most serious charge against Andrew Busskohl, 19, in a pretrial hearing upon the request of defense attorneys.
Although Busskohl still faces charges of attempted first-degree burglary and aggravated harassment, Martin granted the defense motion for dismissal stating that an attempted murder charge "requires specific intent plus a substantial step toward commission of the crime, lest the accused be convicted for homicidal thoughts."
A pretrial and jury trial on the remaining charges will be rescheduled, Washington County Attorney's office officials said Wednesday.
Busskohl, a 2008 Woodbury High School graduate, was originally charged by the Washington County Attorney's Office with first-degree attempted burglary and aggravated harassment in connection with an attempted break-in to a home on the 3800 block of Oxford Drive.
The attempted murder charge was not added until Sept. 3 when county attorney Doug Johnson said his office had felt uncomfortable they hadn't issue the more serious charge earlier.
While Judge Martin granted the dismissal of the attempted murder charge, she denied motions by the defense to dismiss the attempted burglary charge and to suppress statements Busskohl made to Woodbury police and evidence seized via search warrant.
Martin wrote in an explanation of her order that police "had probable cause to believe that, at a minimum, Busskohl had broken the window and thereby committed criminal damage to property."
The Aug. 11 criminal complaint stated Busskohl told his friend he planned to break a window at the home of the targeted victim one night and would return the next night to "either stab the potential victim in the chest or slash his throat" and then either cut off the eye lids of the victim or cut out his heart.
He said he planned to go to an unknown location in Woodbury and burn the evidence with acetone, the complaint stated.
In an interview with Woodbury police, Busskohl acknowledged he broke out a pane of glass from the patio window at the residence on Aug. 6.
When asked by investigators what he was planning to do in connection to the incident, he answered "perhaps cause harm unto a complete stranger."
He also told police that "Not even I'm sure if I would have gone through with it."
In a follow-up interview with police Busskohl said that on early Aug. 6 he stood outside the window of the residence for a long period of time before breaking the window.
According to the complaint he said he was "very scared after breaking the window and believed that he would not have come back to the home to finish the act, but when police asked him that before he broke the window it was his intent to come back to harm the man who lived there, he answered, 'yes.'"