A 32-year-old central Minnesota man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the shooting death of his girlfriend as she held their baby daughter.
Tyler J. Slagerman, of Clarissa, admitted in Todd County District Court last week to second-degree unintentional manslaughter in the death of 36-year-old Lacey Kuschel on Feb. 25, 2017, in their home.
The plea deal calls for Slagerman, 32, to serve no more than one year in jail, possibly on work release, and a gross-misdemeanor count of child endangerment will be dropped. A four-year prison sentence will be stayed under the plea agreement.
When a sentencing decision by Judge Douglas P. Anderson is handed down on June 4, “I may argue for my incarceration to be in a manner that may allow me to see my daughter for periods of time at the court’s discretion,” said Slagerman’s entry in the plea agreement filing.
According to the criminal complaint, Slagerman called 911 about 1:45 a.m. on his birthday and said that a rifle fell off a counter, discharged and wounded Kuschel, who was holding their 6-month-old daughter, Aspen. The baby was unharmed.
After his arrest, Slagerman gave a different account, saying he picked up the rifle to see why their dogs were barking and the rifle went off when he turned around quickly.
Kuschel’s online obituary described her as a “fierce free spirit” who was a Golden Gloves boxer in her youth and a rodeo rider well into adulthood.