Duluth man on parole for murder is charged with kidnapping, sexual assault

He's accused of tackling the woman, tying her wrists and sexually assaulting her on a logging road in St. Louis County.
Publish date:
dennis hannuksela (1)

A man who was on parole for a 1987 murder is accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman in northern Minnesota last weekend. 

Dennis John Hannuksela, 62, of Duluth, is charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping in connection to the May 15 incident. 

Hannuksela spent nearly 30 years in prison after being convicted of murdering 65-year-old Arthur Nelson in 1987. Nelson's remains were discovered months later along a railroad track right of way in St. Louis County, court documents state

Hannuksela was paroled in August 2017 but was under intensive supervised release, the Duluth News Tribune says.

Hannuksela was arraigned on the new charges on Tuesday, at which time bail was set at $250,000, the paper says. Due to his supervised release status, Hannuksela will likely remain in custody. 

According to the criminal complaint, Hannuksela sexually assaulted the victim sometime after 1:30 a.m. on May 15 on a logging road north of U.S. Highway 53 and Swan Lake Road. 

The woman reported the rape to the hospital in Cloquet, prompting the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office's investigation. 

Charges say the victim had known Hannuksela for several years and considered him a father figure due to their 40-year age difference. 

The victim told investigators she and Hannuksela arranged to meet up after she was done working, the complaint states. She stopped home and Hannuksela picked her up, telling her he needed to dump a couch and then would drive her to Superior, Wisconsin, to meet her friends. 

They shared marijuana and when they got to the road off of Highway 53, they dumped the couch and drove a little way before they consumed more marijuana, charges say.

That's when Hannuksela got a strange look and lunged at her, the victim told investigators. She eventually was able to grab her purse and run from the vehicle, but he tackled her, put zip ties around her wrists and brought her back to the truck where he sexually assaulted her. 

Hannuksela eventually took her home and said he wanted to add her to his life insurance policy, charges say. The victim then went to the hospital, where she reported the assault.

In an interview with police, Hannuksela admitted he knows the victim and they would hang out on occasion, inferring she uses him for money, charges state. He denied having any type of sexual conduct with the victim.

Follow Bring Me The News on News Break

Next Up


Glensheen Mansion reveals new coffee bar - with fresh donuts

It's located in the historic Carriage House garage space

Bogdan Vechirko

Charges against trucker who barreled through protestors could be dropped

Bogdan Vechirko will have to avoid legal trouble for a year.

Dychaun Chew - South High School Facebook

Loved ones mourn 16-year-old killed in Minneapolis hit-and-run

South High School held a balloon release for Dychaun Chew Thursday evening.

police lights

5-year-old dies 3 weeks after assault, mother's charges upped to murder

The girl died three weeks after the assault took place.

hospital, emergency room

2 teens, Texas man suffer life-threatening injuries in MN crash

One of the drivers crossed the center line and hit the other vehicle.

WIkimedia Commons - Frey April 20, 2021

Frey under fire for $359K Agape contract awarded via COVID order

Some council members called it a "misuse" of his powers, but the mayor pushed back.

minneapolis mayor - Sheila Nezhad and Jacob Frey

Minneapolis DFL fails to endorse a candidate for mayor

Sheila Nezhad and Jacob Frey finished first and second, respectively, in the endorsement process.


Maplewood man charged with DWI after 'guys weekend' ends in tragedy

The 32-year-old was drunk-driving a pontoon, with one of his friends falling off and dying.


Storm reports: Hail the size of tennis balls, baseballs hammered MN

Big-time hailstones slammed Lonsdale and Cannon Falls.


tom burke

Charges: Wisconsin star, former NFL player sexually assaulted a child

The child told her mother about the assaults in February, charges say.

Bryan Ellinger

Charges: Trail of Terror supervisor sexually assaulted 3 teenage employees

Bryan Ellinger was arrested in January accused of raping a 15-year-old employee. Two more women have come forward accusing him of sexually assaulted them as teens.

duluth police department

17-year-old charged with murder in Duluth fatal shooting

The teenager is accused of shooting into a crowd following a fight downtown Saturday.

michael lovestrand

Special education teacher charged with sexual assault

He is accused of raping a woman he met online.

kevin belker

Charges: Bloomington school employee sexually assaulted kids in the 1970s

Five victims have come forward alleging Kevin Belker assaulted them when they were kids.

Derek Malevich (1)

Man charged in ex-girlfriend's death was accused of assault months prior

He was charged with murder days before he was set to appear in court in connection to the assault charges.

duluth police department

Duluth police officer charged in September shooting

The officer, who is a five-year veteran, is charged with two felonies.