Skip to main content

Stillwater man gets 36 years for holding hostages in Woodbury motel

  • Author:
  • Updated:

A gunman who held 11 people hostage in a Woodbury motel room last year received the maximum sentence of 36 years from a Washington County judge Monday.

The Associated Press reports Demetrius Ballinger, 26, had pleaded guilty to attempted murder and to sexually assaulting four teenage girls during the standoff.

After a SWAT team had surrounded the Red Roof Inn one of the hostages, Mark Henderson, Jr., tried to escape and was shot by Ballinger and by police.

The Pioneer Press reports victim impact statements from the parents of Henderson and of the girls Ballinger assaulted were read in court, after which Ballinger asked Judge Ellen Maas to give him a life sentence. The newspaper reports Judge Maas said she couldn't do that, but she did make his sentences consecutive and said Ballinger will be on probation for the rest of his life.

The Star Tribune describes the incident on August 31, 2012, as a party that went sour when Ballinger pulled a gun and began assaulting the girls, who were 16 and 15. Washington County Attorney Pete Orput told the paper “Very seldom do we see a case where so many innocents are victimized in such a cruel manner.”

Next Up

Governor Tim Walz

Walz, judge in dispute over Feeding Our Future case

A Ramsey County judge disputed Walz's claims that the Minnesota Department of Education was ordered by the court to resume payments to Feeding Our Future.


2 dead, 1 with life-threatening injuries in Hwy. 7 crash

Both drivers were not wearing their seatbelt, according to the State Patrol.

Screen Shot 2022-09-25 at 11.50.33 AM

15-year-old Richfield football game shooting suspect arrested

A 16-year-old accused of instigating the altercation is also in custody.

Police tape

3 arrested after homicide, burglary in Inver Grove Heights

Charges of first-degree murder and first-degree burglary are pending.

fire, firefighter

Woman dies after becoming trapped in Waseca house fire

Police tried to enter the home but heavy smoke prevented them from getting inside.


1 dead, 2 with life-threatening injuries in Minnesota crash

The crash happened just after 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Image (1)

School bus carrying students plunges into river southwest of Fargo

None of the kids suffered life-threatening injuries, though some were taken to area hospitals.

Richfield High School

Richfield High School cancels weekend events after shooting

Two men were shot outside the school's football stadium

Screen Shot 2022-09-23 at 10.21.38 PM

Sound of shots, mass panic at Richfield football game streamed live on YouTube

Gunfire caused panic at a varsity football game Friday night.

J. Gordon

K-9 search leads to $36K fentanyl seizure during traffic stop

A traffic stop was made after the vehicle was seen speeding through the area.


Man shot by police at Woodbury motel was unarmed hostage

A 19-year-old man police shot and killed in a standoff at a Woodbury motel early Friday was one of the hostages who escaped from the alleged gunman at the motel, the Star Tribune reports. According to police, Mark Eric Henderson was shot by officers as he emerged from the motel room, walked toward them and did not comply with their commands. Officers reportedly believed that Henderson was armed -- but he was not -- and now the victim's family wants answers.