Two teens charged in the assault of a former Blue Earth Area football teammate had their day in Faribault County District Court on Monday.
Prior to the start of a scheduled 9 a.m. hearing for 18-year-old Dalton Nagel – charged with aiding and abetting third-degree assault — his attorney Michael Kircher and prosecutor Graham Berg-Moberg met for more than 10 minutes with Judge Douglas Richards in his chambers.
“No plea bargain was offered,” says Berg-Moberg. “It was just to discuss how to proceed with the police reports, witness statements and all the discovery documents. It’s enormous.”
During the hearing, Kircher told the judge there is no evidence that supports the charges against his client.
Kircher says there are lots of statements from witnesses at the Oct. 18 house party in Winnebago where the alleged assault occurred that contradict a police officer’s investigation of the incident.
“The officer drew his own conclusions from the statements,” he says.
According to Kircher, witnesses at the party say the alleged victim arrived with teammates either intoxicated or left the party and came back intoxicated.
Kircher says witness statements indicate the victim was loud, obnoxious, threw up on himself, took off his clothes and eventually passed out.
Teammates attempted to hold the victim from running outside and being loud, says Kircher, and it was at that time he was struck.
Kircher argues there is nothing in statements that indicate the victim was held down and beaten as the police report says.
“It’s clear there’s nothing in any of the information that indicates this young man lost consciousness and that a reasonable person would believe he lost consciousness after being struck,” he says.
Kircher says teammates reportedly gave the boy a ride home and while in the back seat he took a selfie with the caption, “I’m still hammered.” He says no bruises or injuries were evident in the photo.
Following the alleged assault, the victim attended football practice and played in two football games before seeking medical attention on Nov. 6.
While a doctor did diagnose the victim had a concussion, Kircher argues he sustained it during a game he played on Oct. 28.
“He told teammates he was hit so hard that his helmet cracked and broke,” says Kircher. “And, he didn’t report it to anybody.”
Kircher says based on the evidence it is “unfair and unreasonable” for his client to stand trial.
Berg-Moberg says the state has evidence that shows the victim sustained substantial bodily harm while at the house party.
“He (Kircher) may wish the doctor did not diagnose a concussion,” he says. “It is an issue for a trial and jury to decide. At the end of the end, the defense motion should be denied.”
Richards will review police reports, interviews, medical reports and other evidence before issuing a ruling which could take several weeks.
In a hearing held Monday afternoon, 18-year-old Wyatt Tungland made his first court appearance on charges of third-degree assault and aiding and abetting third-degree assault.
His attorney Chris Ritts requested a contested omnibus hearing and waived the requirement that it be held within the next 28 days.
Ritts says he is waiting for cell phone information that he being processed by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Berg-Moberg says the state was expected to turn over the information by the end of the day.
Richards says a two-hour hearing will be scheduled, but the date has yet to be determined.