Burglar admits beating 95-year-old Minn. veteran to death with flashlight

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ANOKA, Minn. -- The burglar accused of beating a 95-year-old Anoka man to death pleaded guilty on Tuesday.

Isaiah Montrell Thomas, 28, used a flashlight and a clock to kill Albert Loehlein, a World War II veteran, during a November 2016 home invasion, according to charges filed last year.

An Anoka County judge has accepted Thomas’s guilty plea; Thomas is scheduled to be sentenced on April 9.

“This was a horrendous crime, committed on a very vulnerable man, that shocked and saddened this community,” Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo said in a news release. “After discussions with Mr. Loehlein’s family, we feel this was an appropriate conclusion to the legal aspect of this tragedy.”

In a written statement, Loehlein’s family praised Palumbo and local law enforcement agencies for their work on the case.

“This plea helps to bring closure for us,” the statement said. “Everyone’s out-pouring of care and concern helped our family through this very difficult ordeal.”

On Nov. 26, 2016, Thomas entered Loehlein’s home to burglarize it. When Loehlein confronted Thomas, he beat the elderly man to death. A relative of Loehlein discovered his body two days later. A fingerprint collected from Loehlein’s blood-spattered bedroom  linked Thomas to the crime.

At the time of the murder, Thomas was awaiting sentencing on another burglary in Ramsey County, according to the Anoka county attorney’s news release.