By Staff reports
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Grand jury indicts man with first-degree murder


A Pine County grand jury last Tuesday, October 20, indicted a local man with first-degree murder, clearing the way for a trial in which the possibility of a life-time prison sentence will be considered for a man accused of killing a toddler.

County Attorney Reese Frederickson officially charged Loun with the upgraded charge in Pine County Court on Wednesday.

Previously, Jonathan Michael Loun, 31, was charged with second-degree murder of Dante Sears, 3, who died following the assault. The next hearing for Loun will be on Tuesday, December 22, at 1:30 p.m.

Before the grand jury met, Frederickson filed a notice with the court for an aggravated sentence in the case citing several examples of how his crime fit the first-degree murder charge. To fit the first-degree murder charge in Minnesota, a person can be charged with the crime if they cause the death of a minor while committing child abuse.

In the filing for aggravated circumstances in the most recent case, Frederickson noted that Sears was absolutely vulnerable due to age, infirmity, or reduced physical or mental capacity, and the offender knew or should have known of this vulnerability; and the victim was treated with particular cruelty for which the individual offenders should be held responsible.

The amended complaint included several interviews by local authorities of women who used to date Loun, two of whom said he either made threats against them, or their children.

On August 25, Loun was caring for Dante while his girlfriend was working an overnight shift. When she returned home, she found Dante was severely assaulted and unresponsive. Dante was taken off life support on August 29.

In 2006, Loun was convicted of criminal vehicular homicide in Pine County in relation to running over his friend with his vehicle on Highway 48, east of Hinckley.


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