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Todd County judge to review plea agreement in shooting death

The fate of a 32-year-old man who shot and killed his girlfriend while she held their 5-month-old baby a year ago is in the hands of a Todd County District Court Judge.

Tyler James Slagerman
Tyler James Slagerman

The fate of a 32-year-old man who shot and killed his girlfriend while she held their 5-month-old baby a year ago is in the hands of a Todd County District Court Judge.

Tyler James Slagerman-charged Feb. 27, 2017, with felony second-degree unintentional manslaughter and gross misdemeanor child endangerment-was scheduled for a jury trial this week, but it was canceled when the defense and prosecution proposed a plea agreement Tuesday in a Long Prairie courtroom.

According to the Todd County Attorney's Office, under the plea agreement Slagerman would plead guilty to one count of unintentional manslaughter and the child endangerment charge would be dropped. Slagerman would be sentenced to up to one year in county jail. If he would violate any of the conditions of his probation, a 48-month prison sentence could be executed.

The judge will review the court documents before making a decision on the plea agreement.

The plea will be considered by a judge and a hearing has been tentatively scheduled for early June. If the judge rejects the plea deal, the case will go back to its current standing, the attorney's office stated.

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According to the complaint filed in court, the Todd County Sheriff's Office was called at 1:48 a.m. Feb. 25, 2017, to the 18000 block of 360th Street in Clarissa. Slagerman reported a gun had fallen off a counter and discharged and hit a female. The female was later identified as Lacy Kuschel.

A deputy observed a lever action rifle on the floor on the northeast corner of a room and a live rifle round was found in a room near the steps leading to the main part of the residence. The live round and the rifle were 5-feet apart. The deputy entered the bedroom and observed Slagerman giving chest compressions to Kuschel lying on the bed. His infant child was in a crib.

The deputy asked Slagerman where Kuschel was shot and he partially rolled her over and lifted up the back of her shirt. It appeared to be an entry wound into her upper right back. The female died at the scene.

In a Miranda rights statement, Slagerman stated he was out with friends earlier in the night and consumed four alcoholic drinks. He returned home around 12:30-12:45 a.m. and when he went inside, he heard the dogs barking and the baby started crying. Kuschel was holding the child and sitting on the edge of the bed. Slagerman suspected there were coyotes in the yard, so he grabbed his .30-30-caliber rifle which was next to the dresser. He said he turned around fast with the rifle and headed toward the door and the gun went off striking the woman, the complaint stated. The child was not harmed. Slagerman stated he keeps the rifle loaded in the bedroom.

The manslaughter charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine, according to court records. The child endangerment count has a maximum penalty of one year in prison and/or a $3,000 fine.

Family and friends of Kuschel have expressed their disappointment in how the case has been handled with several media organizations. One concern for the family is the baby was initially placed in protective custody with Kuschel's parents, but later the court gave custody of the baby to Slagerman.

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