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Prison sentence upheld in attack on 85-year-old woman

Renae Kramer

Austin woman sentenced to 15 years behind bars.

Posted: Mar. 12, 2018 2:25 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. – An Austin woman sent to prison for pushing an old lady down the stairs and trying to steal her medication has lost her appeal.

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47-year-old Renae Dawn Kramer was arrested in April 2014 and charged with 1st degree assault, 1st degree aggravated robbery, 1st degree burglary, 3rd degree assault, and obstructing the legal process. Authorities say she went to the home of an 85-year-old woman, a longtime acquaintance of Kramer’s, to steal the woman’s pain medication. Court documents state Kramer pushed the 80-pound-woman down the stairs into her basement, shut the basement door and left the victim in the dark, rummaged through drawers looking for pills, then left the house and locked the door behind her.

The victim said she was too afraid to activate her emergency alert bracelet until Kramer left, after which she was rescued by emergency personnel. Authorities say the 85-year-old woman suffered two broken wrists, spinal fractures, and head injuries that caused bleeding in her brain. She required multiple surgeries and rehab at a nursing home.

Kramer pleaded guilty to 1st degree burglary and 1st degree assault and was sentenced in July 2015 to 15 years in prison. She appealed both her conviction and sentence, arguing she receiving ineffective legal counsel and that the district court abused its discretion by sentencing her to almost twice the recommended prison term under state guidelines.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has rejected those claims, saying her defense attorneys acted properly and the cruelty of Kramer’s crime justified an enhanced sentence.

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