Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Staff reports
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Murder suspect to appear in court

 


The Sandstone man accused in the beating death of a toddler will appear in court next week.

Jonathan Loun, 31, is accused of second-degree murder in the death of Dante Sears, 3, who died following the assault.

On Tuesday, September 29, at 1:30 p.m., Loun will appear in court for a contested omnibus hearing. Pine County Attorney Reese Frederickson on Monday filed a notice seeking an aggravated sentence in the case.

Included among the aggravated circumstances Frederickson filed, were:

– The victim was absolutely vulnerable due to age, infirmity, or reduced physical or mental capacity, and the offender knew or should have known of this vulnerability.

– The victim was treated with particular cruelty for which the individual offenders should be held responsible.

– The offense caused the death of a person and defendant has a prior conviction for causing the death of a person.

– The offense caused the death of a household member and defendant has a lengthy history of assaultive behaviors toward household members.

Frederickson further wrote that Sears was “absolutely vulnerable” due to his age and that Loun was in charge of his care that evening in which Sears was severely beaten. Frederickson noted seven hours passed between the assault and when medical care was received, even though there is a hospital just four blocks away from the residence in which the assault happened.

Another reason for seeking an aggravated sentence, Frederickson wrote, is that Loun was convicted of criminal vehicular homicide in 2006, there was a prior incident of inflicting malicious punishment against a child he was caring for in Kanabec County, also in 2006, and he has numerous prior incidents of inflicting domestic assault on family and household members.

The assault on August 25 happened when Loun was caring for the child, while his girlfriend was working an overnight shift. The mother found her child severely assaulted, bleeding from the mouth and nose, and unresponsive. He was transported from Essentia Health-Sandstone by helicopter to Minneapolis Children’s Hospital. Sears was taken off life support on Saturday, August 29.

Frederickson will be seeking the maximum penalty for second-degree murder, 40 years in prison, in the case against Loun.

 

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