Two people have pleaded guilty to reduced charges in Carver County for being in a group of target shooters whose stray bullet seriously wounded a passing motorcyclist at least a quarter-mile away.
Jasmine S. Morrow, 24, and Ian A. Stinson, 22, both of Oak Ridge, Tenn., pleaded guilty last week to misdemeanor reckless use of a firearm and were immediately sentenced in connection with the shooting in June 2019 of 43-year-old Troy Mack of Minneapolis, who was hit in the chest as he headed south on County Road 40.
Morrow and Stinson were put on a year of supervised probation by Judge Michael Wentzell, whose terms include not using firearms during that time and completion of a weapons training course. Wentzell also ordered both to do five days of community service and write letters of apology to Mack.
Still charged with felony intentional discharge of a firearm and endangering safety are Blake A. Martin, 28, of rural Carver, and his father, William A. Martin, 58, of Victoria.
The bullet that hit Mack came from Blake Martin's handgun, according to prosecutors. It was surgically removed and turned over to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which found that it came from the guns being fired dozens of times by William Martin, Stinson or Morrow.
The plea deals were possible "because my clients were not responsible for the injuries suffered by Mr. Mack as was proven by ballistic results," said attorney Robert Oleisky, who added that his clients are serving their probation back in their home state. "However, they both admitted that they were doing target practice and the conditions were not safe to do so regarding the location and geography of the area."
Chief Deputy County Attorney Peter Ivy said his office allowed Morrow and Stinson to plead to a misdemeanor count because they were from out of state and "Blake Martin, as the tenant, had the duty to really check out his background. So we believe [Morrow and Stinson] were less culpable."
The near-fatal gunshot that struck Mack while he was riding among a group of motorcyclists caused significant injury to an artery that supplies blood to his right arm and fractured his right shoulder blade, according to County Attorney Mark Metz.
Metz said that Mack was passing anywhere from 1,200 to 1,900 feet beyond the silhouette target the shooters had in their sights at the home southwest of Carver in the 16300 block of Homestead Road.
Blake Martin told a detective that he believed they were shooting away from the road after having first "checked it on Google maps," the charges read.