Man gets life in murder of law clerk

ST. PAUL, Minn. - A convicted felon will spend the remainder of his life behind bars after being found guilty Friday in the murder of a law clerk. 

Ryan David Petersen was convicted of premeditated murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree and possession of a firearm by an ineligible person in connection with the shooting death of 23-year-old Chase Passauer in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood of St. Paul.

Passauer was working at Northstar Criminal Defense on April 7, 2016 when Petersen walked in to the office and opened fire. 

During the trial Petersen admitted:

  • He is a convicted felon, ineligible to possess firearms for life
  • He fired (a) handgun eight times, striking the victim each time.
  • He sent a text, stating he had killed his lawyer.
  • He disposed of the firearm in a northern Wisconsin lake.

Judge William Leary sentenced the defendant to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“We are very pleased with the judge’s ruling against the defendant who so brutally took the life of a promising young man,” said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi. “I want to thank the prosecution team as well as the St. Paul Police investigators for their hard work to bring justice to the victim’s family, friends and our community.

Passauer’s family and friends stepped forward in court to a deliver victim impact statements. Outside the courtroom three of Chase's friends and fellow baseball umpires spoke of a statement Petersen made about wishing he could change what happened, and how it rang hollow. "It's not gonna change getting Chase back," lamented Russ Lundquist. "It's over with, it's done and he has however many years the lord lets him have on this earth to deal with it on his own. And that's alright with us."  

"He has no place in this society," insisted Mike Bohlken. "Not having to deal with him again is what we need around here."

All three men wore patches on their shirts with a home plate, Passauer's initials (CH) and his umpiring number, 34. While all three men spoke in anger about what Petersen did to their friend, the overriding emotion was a numbing sense of loss. "He'll never be back, that's the hardest thing," mourned Joe Derezinski. "it's an empty feeling."

 


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