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Charges upped to murder in fatal central Minnesota bar attack

FORADA, Minn. — The two men charged in the death of Steven “Beaver” Hlinsky of Forada in 2018 are now facing much more serious charges as their trial dates approach.

On May 20, Douglas County Attorney Chad Larson added second-degree murder charges against Jacob Elmo Larson, 34, and Troy Nathan Traut, 34, who are accused of beating Hlinsky so badly outside the Muddy Boot bar in Forada that he later died of his injuries. Previously, the most serious charge against each was first-degree manslaughter, which they are still facing.

Both are also charged with aiding and abetting murder and aiding and abetting manslaughter.

Jacob Larson was in court Tuesday for the hearing, and his attorney asked Judge Timothy Churchwell to suppress part of the statement he made to law enforcement. The defense says Jacob Larson’s rights were violated during questioning.

“He said he wanted to remain silent seven to nine times during the interview,” defense attorney Todd Peterson told the judge.

According to the criminal complaint: Traut, Jacob Larson and two other men were sitting together at a table at the Muddy Boot. Surveillance video showed Traut appearing to approach Hlinsky several times in an “aggressive or agitated” manner. The video shows Traut grabbing a beer bottle in front of Hlinsky and throwing it against the wall.

The video then shows Jacob Larson walking over to Hlinsky, lighting what appears to be a marijuana pipe, then blowing the smoke toward him. Hlinsky appears to direct Jacob Larson to the door, stopping to talk to the bartender, then continuing to the door with Jacob Larson. According to the complaint, Hlinsky did not appear to be planning to leave the bar, but Traut grabbed him by the arm and pulled him outside. Jacob Larson is also seen putting Hlinsky in a headlock and helping to pull him outside, where they vanished from the bartender’s view and from the surveillance video.

Hlinsky died eight days later.

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