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Jury begins deliberation in Sherman Frederick trial

Sherman Bernard Frederick’s fate is the hands of a jury of seven women and five men. 

Frederick, 68, Crosslake, has been charged with felony criminal vehicular homicide or operation in connection with the May 9, 2009, death of 3-year-old Jack Larson in Merrifield. 

Closing arguments by prosecuting and defense attorneys in Frederick’s jury trial were held Wednesday morning and Wednesday afternoon. 

The jury, after instructions from Judge Erik Askegaard, went into deliberations at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. Jurors also were instructed to consider the lesser offense of careless driving during their deliberations, as requested by Frederick’s defense attorney, Brent Schafer. 

Frederick is accused of driving his minivan onto and off the shoulder of Crow Wing County Road 3, passing several stopped vehicles and striking Jack. The vehicles had stopped in the northbound and southbound traffic lanes to allow Jack and other children to cross the road. 

There’s no argument between Crow Wing County Attorney Don Ryan, who is prosecuting the case, and Frederick’s attorney, Brent Schafer, that Frederick was driving the minivan, passed several stopped vehicles to the right and struck Jack. 

In his closing arguments, Ryan argued that the evidence proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Frederick’s actions leading to Jack’s death were grossly negligent, and he asked the jury to find Frederick guilty on the charge of criminal vehicular homicide. 

Schafer, in his closing arguments, said Frederick’s actions were careless but not gross negligence and the evidence showed Frederick had medical issues — he suffers from sleep apnea and diabetes — that may have led to the crash. The evidence, Schafer said, didn’t support a conviction. 

MATT ERICKSON may be reached at or 855-5857.