James Erkel
31 Years Old

January 13, 1955 to December 31, 1986

Genie and Jim Erkel had only been married for six months.

Genie was a Dental Assistant and Jim worked for UPS as a driver. They met at work.

Jim was a marvelous man. He was very talented in everything he did. Jim was building his own geodesic home in New Scandia. It was his dream house. Every bit of the work he was doing himself on a pay as you go plan. He never wanted to get heavily in debt. Jim was great at trivia. He beat anyone he played with. Anything he attempted it seemed he could do. Our family was ecstatic about their marriage. We all loved him.

Genie had been married before, but it seems Jim really seemed to radiate something in her that none of us had ever seen before. She called him her knight in shining armor.

Genie had gone to dental school after having several other jobs that were not challenging enough. She made the Dean's list and I was so very proud of her. She got a job with some terrific dentists. Earlier she had taken up oil painting and painted several canvas's. She was quite good. Genie was very artistic.

Jim was marvelous with both of Genie's children. Danny seemed to like Jim very much. Jim tried very hard to get through to Danny that he was wasting his life to continue on drugs and alcohol. At the trial, Danny said that Jim was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It seemed that everyone loved Genie and Jim. They were so happy together. It just didn't last long enough.


My daughter and her husband, Genie and Jim Erkel, were killed on New Year's Eve, 1986.

They were murdered by Genie's son Daniel Wickham. He was 16 at the time. He was charged as an adult. Dan had a problem with discipline. He started drinking, using drugs, grades dropped, his appearance deteriorated. He had been in rehabilitation at 14. It didn't help. He was to go into rehab again after the holidays.

On New Year's Eve, an argument started about Dan going out to dinner with them. He wouldn't change clothes and refused to go. They went anyway and were home about 9:00 pm. They found him drinking and smoking pot. Another argument took place and Dan left the room. They didn't know that he had hidden a 12-gauge shotgun in his sister's bedroom. She was gone for the weekend. He testified that he was going to commit suicide but Genie had been looking for him and when she turned on the light, it surprised him and he shot her in the arm. Then the face. Then the thorax. Jim rushed into the room and he was shot in the face. He bled to death. He had to see what Dan had done to Genie.

Dan was sentenced to 360 months, two times over the guidelines. He was sent to St. Cloud. In July, 1998, he was sent to Faribault for the rest of his sentence. He has a possibility of parole after 17 and 1/2 years. He has served 13 years as of December, 1999.


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James & Eugene Erkel