Minnesota man accused of shooting his sister 18 times with semi-automatic rifle, officials say

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Source: MEGA; Carver County jail

Aug. 16 2021, Published 8:16 p.m. ET

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A 21-year-old man in Minnesota allegedly used a semi-automatic rifle to shoot his older sister over a dozen times, authorities said.

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A Carver County grand jury indicted Joseph Thomas Ness, 21, on a pre-meditated first-degree murder charge on Aug. 10 in connection to the shooting death of 25-year-old Noelle Ness last spring.

He was previously charged with second-degree murder.

According to the allegations against him, on May 8 around 2:20 p.m., deputies were responding to a report of a fire alarm at a home in Chanhassen when a neighbor called 911 and told an emergency dispatcher there had been a shooting at the Ness' next-door residence.

The caller told authorities Ness’ mother had said her son “killed Noelle,” his sister, the Carver County district attorney said.

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About 45 minutes later, at 3:05 p.m., the D.A.’s office claimed, a person who lived around half a mile from the Ness family's home called police and noted a man, later identified as Ness, had walked onto her property from a nearby public trail, and said: “Please help me. I need your help. I need you to call the police for me. I just killed my sister.”

The homeowner alleged Ness indicated he was unarmed and wanted to surrender peacefully. Deputies arrived on scene and took Ness into custody.

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At Ness’ home, where he lived with his parents and sibling, the district attorney said, deputies found “hundreds of spent rifle casings, defects in walls consistent with gunfire, and many shattered windows, also consistent with gunfire.”

Noelle Ness was shot 18 times in her bedroom with a semi-automatic rifle and died from her injuries.

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The murder suspect allegedly first fired into the victim’s bedroom from his room across the hallway and then continued shooting her at closer range, Minneapolis television station KARE reported.

During a search of the home, authorities recovered multiple firearms, including several varieties of AR-15 and AK-47 rifles as well as high-capacity drum magazines and tactical gear.

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