Murder In Blue Earth, But Why No 1st Degree Murder Charge?

Unfortunately, there is another murder in Southern Minnesota, this time in the small town of Blue Earth. It looks like Brian Freeman (his last name is ironic isn’t it, as he won’t be a free man any longer) murdered Chris Fulmer with a hammer a few days ago. The story is reported by the Mankato Free Press and it claims that Mr. Freeman entered the house of his wife and assaulted the man who was in bed with her at about 12:30 a.m.

The Free Press goes on to say that they have some pretty convincing evidence against Mr. Freeman, including:

  • Confession of the murder.
  • Bloody Clothes, with human blood.
  • Admission of being at the scene.
  • Ski mask in his car.

But the question remains…why is he only charged with second degree murder? Is the prosecutor soft on crime? is there something we don’t know about? Well I don’t know the answer to the last two questions; however I know why he is not charged with 1st degree murder (remember the main difference between 1st and 2nd degree murder is premeditation and with 1st degree you can get life without the possibility of parole). The reason is simple a grand jury is required to indict for 1st degree murder.

Grand Juries are a holdover from a different era. They are controlled by both statute and Minn. Rule of Criminal Procedure 18. They are held in a sealed room, where the 16-23 Jury members sit, the prosecutor, witnesses and a court reporter. As you can imagine with no defense lawyer or the ability to put on a defense the joke is the prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a banana peel if he wants to. All that is required is a majority feel that there is probable cause to prosecute and the case moves forward.

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