A Waseca woman who was identified by police as a suspect in the School Street stabbing in Owatonna on Tuesday has been formally charged, according to court documents.

Tierrah Vachon Lee Wells, 34, was charged Thursday with one count of second-degree attempted murder and one count of first-degree assault, both felonies. The charges stem from an incident that took place in the early hours of March 30 that left one person with life-threatening injuries.

According to the criminal complaint, Owatonna police were called Tuesday to an apartment on East School Street at 3:47 a.m. for a report of a stabbing. Officers found 42-year-old Charles W. Ellis, one of the tenants, unresponsive in the apartment with two stab wounds to his chest. Officers could not find a carotid pulse and Ellis’ pupils did not react to light stimulus. Ellis stopped breathing while officers were administering first aid and they began performing life-saving measures.

Ellis was transported by Mayo Ambulance to the Owatonna airport where he was then transported to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester by North Memorial Air Support. His condition is currently unknown, however, he was interviewed by police Thursday morning. Capt. Eric Rethemeier said Ellis’ interview will not be made public at this time.

At the apartment, Ellis’ roommates who witnessed the incident told police that Ellis was arguing with his girlfriend whom they had never met before that night. The girlfriend, later identified as Wells, took a kitchen knife from a drawer during the argument and stabbed Ellis, according to witness testimony. The witnesses said Wells was there with two children who witnessed the stabbing. They believed Wells took the knife with her when she left.

Officers discovered Ellis had an Order for Protection out against Wells, according to court records.

According to court documents, an Owatonna investigator phoned Wells at 11 a.m. and she denied any involvement in the incident, stating she had just returned the previous night from being out of state and had not seen Ellis. A short time later, Wells was detained by Waseca police following a traffic stop.

During a Mirandized interview, Wells initially stated she knew nothing of the assault. When confronted about witnesses placing her at the apartment, Wells changed her initial statement and said she had been with Ellis at the apartment the previous evening, but left around 9 p.m. when Ellis “forcefully shoved her out the door,” the report reads. When confronted with surveillance evidence that placed her leaving the apartment shortly before 4 a.m., Wells changed her statement again, saying she didn’t know how late it was but that Ellis was fine when she left. According to the report, Wells acknowledged her two children were with her at the apartment.

Wells has no prior convictions in the state of Minnesota. She is currently in custody at the Steele County Detention Center and bail without conditions has been set at $500,000. Her next court appearance is scheduled for April 8.

Reach Reporter Annie Granlund at 507-444-2378 or follow her on Twitter @OPPAnnie. ©Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota.

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