MINNEAPOLIS – A suburban Milwaukee optometrist has been charged in Minnesota with murdering a woman who apparently left him at the altar in Las Vegas.
Prosecutors allege in a criminal complaint filed in Hennepin County District Court that Dean Barrette tracked the woman down in a Minnesota hotel room last week and shot her in the head.
Authorities said the 44-year-old Cudahy, Wis., optometrist then returned to Wisconsin, cut the grass at the home he shared with his mother and left for an extended stay at a suburban motel.
The body of Alison Daniels, 24, was found at the Radisson University Hotel in Minneapolis on Aug. 6. Police said Daniels was an online escort from East Lansing, Mich.
"This is one twisted made-for-TV movie," Cudahy Detective Glen Haase said.
Court documents allege Barrette gave Daniels $4,000 to enter into a "sham marriage," but Daniels left Barrette behind in Las Vegas after receiving the money.
Barrette was in the Milwaukee County Jail on Wednesday and fighting extradition to Minnesota. A message left for the lawyer listed for him in court records was not immediately returned Wednesday.
The complaint did not say why the pair were meeting in Minneapolis nor what connection, if any, either had to the city. It also gave no indication why Barrette and Daniels planned a sham marriage.
The criminal complaint said Barrette booked two rooms at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas on July 24. A witness reported seeing Barrette give Daniels an envelope of money there in exchange for her entering into a "sham marriage."
The ceremony was scheduled for that day, but the bride and groom never showed up, according to the complaint. The witness "left Las Vegas with Daniels, knowing Daniels didn't make good on the wedding — essentially stealing Barrette's money," the complaint said.
Another witness told investigators he got a telephone call from Daniels shortly before she died. She said she was at a Minneapolis hotel with the man from "that situation in Las Vegas" and that he had a gun to her head.
Daniels asked the witness to send her $4,000, but he hung up on her because he thought she might be trying to steal from him.
At about 6:30 p.m., about 2 1/2 hours later, police responded to Daniels' room and found signs of a struggle, including large chunks of blond hair like Daniels' and a broken cell phone. The complaint does not indicate what prompted police to go to the room.
Daniels' uncle and godfather, Gary Schafer of Charlevoix, Mich., said he couldn't believe his niece was a professional escort.
"I certainly had people come up to me during the funeral who said they had Alison go to church with them and had received the Lord, things like that," he said.
Daniels became a beautician after graduating from Haslett High School near Lansing in 2000, Schafer said. She was a studying for a new career as an ultrasound technician when she died, he said.
"She loved helping people and she loved being around people," he said.