Slagerman trial cancelled
The 2nd Degree Manslaughter-Unintentional trial for Tyler Slagerman of rural Todd County has been cancelled.
The Todd County Attorney’s Office has notified the court that a plea bargain has been reached. As such, the trial that was scheduled to take place next week was cancelled, and a plea hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 9 a.m. in Todd County District Court.
Slagerman is accused of pulling the trigger in the Feb. 25, 2017 shooting death of girlfriend Lacey Kuschel.
According to court documents, the Todd County Sheriff’s Office was alerted to a report concerning a gun shot victim at 18861 360th St. Clarissa around 1:50 a.m. Feb. 25.
Clarissa Fire and Rescue and Browerville ambulance along with law enforcement responded to the call.
A 36-year-old female, later identified as Lacey J. Kuschel, was found deceased at the residence.
Slagerman was arrested at the residence and was subsequently charged with 2nd Degree Manslaughter-Unintentional and Child Endangerment on Feb. 27.
According to the complaint filed in Todd County District Court, Slagerman called 911 and told the dispatcher that a gun had fallen off a counter, discharged and hit a female party in the residence.
Upon arrival at the scene, a Todd County Deputy observed a 30-30 lever action rifle on the floor. The deputy found Slagerman in the bedroom giving the victim chest compressions. The deputy also noticed what appeared to be an entry wound on her back.
Slagerman was then taken into custody and he later told authorities that after he had returned home from being out, around 12:30-12:45 a.m., their dogs were barking and he found Kuschel on the bed holding and rocking their baby, who had been woken up by the barking.
Slagerman then told authorities he grabbed the 30-30 rifle that he kept in the corner of the bedroom to go out and check on the dogs in case there were coyotes in the yard. After he grabbed it, he told authorities he turned around fast and the rifle went off, striking Kuschel in the back while she was holding the baby. The child was unharmed.
Slagerman told the authorities that he kept the rifle loaded in the bedroom.
Law enforcement stated in the complaint that they had detected the odor of alcohol on Slagerman. Slagerman told authorities that he had been out with friends prior to coming home and had consumed about four drinks. A blood-alcohol test administered around 5:30 a.m. found Slagerman’s BAC to be at .073.
The 2nd Degree Manslaughter-Unintentional charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. The child endangerment count carries a maximum of one year in prison and a $3,000 fine.
Sarah Kuschel wrote to the court, expressing what many in the area are feeling.
“We are now nearing the trial date and there are still so many questions about the case and answers that haven’t been given to Lacey’s family,” Kuschel wrote.
“For some reason people are more worried about protecting Mr. Slagerman than they are about protecting a small child’s future and ensuring that there is justice for Lacey.”
“I have known Lacey most of my life as we went to school together and participated in many extracurricular events together. She was always a positive role model, honor student and someone who really shined in all that she did. I was lucky enough to marry her cousin and become part of her family, which ensured we continued our relationship as adults and then into being mothers who would have raised the next generation together. Her time was cut way too short and we need to ensure that everything is thoroughly examined in this case and no stone is left unturned, as many lies have been uncovered during pervious hearings.”
“Growing up in a family that hunts, and several family members who are firearm safety instructors; I have many questions with this case as to how it is so quickly being written off as accidental. Anyone that handles firearms knows the basic principals to follow and none of those were met here: 4) Treat every gun as if it were loaded, 3) Never handle firearms under the influence of drugs or alcohol, 2) Know your target and beyond, and 1) Never point a firearm at something you don’t intend to shoot. No one will be injured by an accidental discharge if you keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction. I could go on and on with firearm safety and proper gun handling, but as you can see, Tyler already failed with all of these and took another person’s life. Why wasn’t he tested for alcohol in a timely manner? Why wasn’t he removed from the crime scene immediately? Why wasn’t he charged with an additional gross misdemeanor for keeping a loaded weapon in reach of a child (MN statute 609.666)? If this was an ‘accidental shooting’, why was Lacey’s body found in the bedroom, yet the rifle was found in the living room with inconsistent stories? Why weren’t Lacey’s parents contacted by county attorney after the incident happened? Why haven’t the concerns of Lacey’s parents been addressed throughout the entire investigation? Why wasn’t a Grand Jury convened or the Attorney General’s Office contacted (as they were for the Williams and Hererra-Torres trials)? Why isn’t Todd County willing to fight for this woman who they represent? There has also been evidence submitted with release condition violations and again Todd County chooses to do nothing. How does Todd County feel they are serving the people of their county well? What must happen before Todd County is willing to fight for those who need it?”
“In closing, I ask that you include Lacey’s parents, who are her voice in discussions, before any kind of plea agreement is accepted and that you fight for Lacey, and for Aspen, as they deserve that every piece of evidence be looked at and that Tyler is punished for the actions he had on February 25, 2017. It is the job of the Todd County Sheriff’s Office and Todd County Attorney’s Office to serve the people of Todd County and do so to the fullest. We understand that nothing will bring Lacey back, all we ask for is that Todd County due its obligation to the victims of the violence happening with its jurisdiction and provide due justice to the offenders.”