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

By Staff reports
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Juvenile faces murder charge


August 10, 2017

A Pine City juvenile, Patrick James Root, 17, is being charged as an adult with second degree murder for the death of Timothy Hughes, 22, of Pine City.

According to the petition:

On August 4, at approximately 4:55 p.m., law enforcement was called to Pine Terrace mobile home park in Pine City due to reports of a shooting. Upon arrival, a Pine County deputy saw an adult male on the ground with a female tending to gunshot wounds. Hughes was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after first aid and CPR were performed. Witnesses gave law enforcement reports of Root’s involvement in the shooting.

Witnesses stated that Root and Hughes were involved in a drug deal, which took place at a nearby restaurant, in which Hughes sold Root “rolled-up toilet paper” for $180 stating it was marijuana. Witnesses said that Root eventually went to the mobile home park, where Hughes was, after asking where his marijuana was and sending him a threatening message via social media.

Another juvenile approached Hughes in the back of a mobile home about the drugs, and according to witnesses, said they would return with some more people. According to a witness, Hughes then “tried to get in the juvenile’s face” as Root pulled up to the mobile home.

It was then witnesses say they heard a gunshot and said they observed Root lean out of the passenger seat of the car asking where his money was. A witness said they heard several rounds of gunfire at that time and that bullets went through the mobile home.

The owner of the mobile home stated that they witnessed the vehicle Root was riding in leave at a high rate of speed. Three shell casings were located on the roadway in front of the residence.

Another witness stated that Hughes sold Root the fake drugs because Root owed him money.

The Kanabec County Sheriff’s Department received a call from a woman stating that her son and niece were in the vehicle at the time of the shooting and indicated they knew where the gun was located. The Kanabec County Sheriff’s Department was then led to Contrast Road in Pine City where they found a gun wrapped in a towel in the ditch. Ammunition was then found near an intersection with Oak Hallow Road.

A juvenile riding with Root later stated to law enforcement that the gun was wiped down and discarded and that they purchased disinfectant wipes for cleaning the car of gunpowder evidence.

According to the charging documents, Root later admitted to shooting Hughes. Root stated the gun he used was a stolen gun. He also admitted to stopping in Mora to purchase disinfectant wipes and using them to wipe down the vehicle. Surveillance from a store in Mora showed the defendant and others with him purchasing cleaning supplies.

The charges come with a maximum prison sentence of 40 years. County Attorney Reese Frederickson stated that a first-degree murder charge requires a grand jury indictment, and that a second-degree murder charge is the highest murder count for this pattern of crime.

Frederickson could not comment concerning the possibility of further charges against Root and other individuals involved because it is an ongoing investigation.


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