One of four Blue Earth Area High School students charged in the assault of a football teammate has retained a Minneapolis attorney.
On Monday, 18-year-old Wyatt Eugene Tungland of Frost was charged with third-degree assault and aiding and abetting assault in Faribault County District Court.
Tungland also qualified for a public defender and was appointed Bill Grogin of the Martin/Faribault County Public Defender’s Office in Fairmont.
Grogin says he learned on Friday that Chris Ritts has been hired to handle Tungland’s case.
Tungland was scheduled to appear in court on Monday but that initial appearance has been rescheduled to Dec. 18.
Ritts says he filed for a continuance because of scheduling conflicts with his other cases.
“We are going to fight this vigorously,” he says. “As you can see with the complaint, it contradicts itself at least three times as to my client’s involvement.”
According to a court complaint, a witness says he saw Tungland punch the victim while the other three teens held him down.
The alleged attack took place at a house party held Oct. 19 in Winnebago.
The victim reportedly had swelling and bruising on his face and suffered a concussion.
Ritts says it “looks very suspicious” why the case wasn’t reported until near the end of the football season.
“I’ve never seen a person get picked up three weeks later after a charge like this,” he says. “It’s outrageous.”
On Nov. 9, the Blue Earth Area School resource officer contacted Winnebago police and reported an assault may have occurred in Winnebago in October.
Tungland and the other teens were allowed to play in the team’s Class AA state quarterfinal loss to Pipestone on Nov. 10 and all were arrested the following week.
Ritts questions the credibility of the allegations because the complaint is “incomplete and unprofessional.”