Two teenagers described by prosecutors as alleged accomplices of a man fatally shot in a burglary gone bad in rural Madelia, Minn., are facing felony charges in connection with the incident.
Kyle Nason, of Sleepy Eye, and Cornelius Ayers Jr. of Mankato, both 18, were charged Tuesday in Watonwan County District Court with first-degree burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary in the Jan. 28 incident outside the home of David Pettersen, an area hog farmer.
Pettersen, who was home in bed when he heard a noise on his deck, pulled out a .45-caliber pistol and shot at the car Nason, Ayers and 19-year-old Nicolas Embertson were in as they drove away. Embertson, of Madelia, was struck by a bullet and later died.
“Based on the information that we have, I do think these charges are appropriate,” Watonwan County Attorney Stephen Lindee said Wednesday. “I think they’re supported by the facts.
“It’s just a sad situation for everybody.”
According to court documents:
Ayers and Embertson were childhood friends of Pettersen’s son, Zackary. In a statement to investigators, Nason initially said the three teenagers went to the Pettersen home at 7 a.m. that Saturday to visit Zackary Pettersen. He later admitted, however, that they were at the home to “scope it out” for a burglary.
Nason told investigators that the trio knew David Pettersen was “wealthy” but that the teenagers didn’t plan to break into his home that day.
“You don’t rob people this early,” Nason told police. “You scope out at this time.”
Nason and Ayers gave conflicting accounts of the morning’s events. But both agreed that Nason, at some point, was on a high deck at the rear of the Pettersen house, about 10 feet off the ground.
David Pettersen heard someone trying to pry open a door. He looked out a bedroom window and confronted Nason, who jumped off the deck, breaking his ankle.
Pettersen told police that Nason then began crawling back toward the trio’s car. Pettersen got his pistol, and as he left the house through the garage, saw the car pass within about 10 feet of him.
He fired two or three shots as the car went by, and told authorities that he was aiming for the front driver’s side tire. He then went inside and called 911.
While en route to Pettersen’s house, a deputy spotted the car with the three teenagers inside. Embertson, who had suffered a gunshot wound, was pronounced dead a short time later at a local hospital.
Pettersen was charged last month with second-degree manslaughter and intentional discharge of a firearm. He was released without bail on the condition that he not leave Minnesota without permission and not use or possess firearms.
Madelia, a city of about 2,300 residents, is 100 miles southwest of the Twin Cities.