No charges filed in fatal fight between roommates

10:05 AM, Apr 11, 2013   |    comments
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HASTINGS, Minn. - No charges will be filed in the case of a man who died during a fight with his roommate in their Eagan apartment on New Year's day.

Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom made the announcement Thursday morning.

Police were called to the apartment and found 36-year-old Jonathan Thomas Lahr dead. Investigators learned that Lahr, his roommate 28-year-old Samuel Walter Petersen and a two others had spent the day barhopping and had consumed a significant amount of alcohol.

At their last stop in Bloomington Lahr and Petersen had become embroiled in an argument and Lahr was pushed to the ground. Investigators say that the four cabbed home, but the argument between the two men continued. Petersen told police that Lahr hit him, he punched back and struck Lahr in the head, knocking him to the ground.

Petersen says he thought Lahr had passed out, but returned 15 minutes later and found he wasn't breathing and had no pulse.

An autopsy concluded that Lahr could have died of a heart attack brought on by a coronary blockage, alcohol-arrested breathing, or an injury suffered during the altercation.

The two other people in the apartment told officers they did not witness the final altercation between Petersen and Lahr; Therefore, Backstrom says, police can not disprove Petersen's claim of self-defense.

"This decision should not be viewed as condoning violence in any form," Backstrom wrote. "Under these facts, however, we have concluded at this time that no crime can be beyond a reasonable doubt in reference to this incident."

 

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