A 38-year-old man has admitted to fatally beating a friend in a downtown Minneapolis alley early this year.
Ryan P. Lidberg of St. Paul pleaded guilty Thursday in Hennepin County District Court to first-degree manslaughter in connection with the beating on Feb. 10 of 32-year-old Nicholas Towner-Upshur in the 1000 block of S. Washington Avenue.
Towner-Upshur died a few days later at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis from what an autopsy determined was damage to the artery that feeds blood to the brain, the criminal complaint read.
A plea agreement calls for Lidberg to receive a sentence of 11 years and two months. With credit for time in jail since his arrest, Lidberg would serve the first seven years and three months in prison and the balance on supervised release. Sentencing is scheduled for June 22.
In a brief telephone interview with the Star Tribune shortly after he was charged in March, Lidberg described the deadly incident as "a tragic mistake."
"I really liked the guy," he said. "He was my best friend's best friend."
Towner-Upshur lived most of his life in the St. Cloud area and performed music under the stage name Profit/YYY, according to his online obituary.
The Hennepin County complaint, based on witness interviews and surveillance video, alleged:
Police went to Abbott Northwestern on Feb. 13 on a report of a patient who was there "under suspicious circumstances," the complaint read. Towner-Upshur died shortly afterward.
Towner-Upshur, Lidberg and other friends attended a comedy show downtown on Feb. 10. Lidberg and one of the friends told hospital staff that Towner-Upshur slipped on ice and hit his head after a minor scuffle. However, Abbott staff determined the injuries were inconsistent with that account.
Video surveillance obtained by police showed Lidberg chasing Towner-Upshur down an alley and attacking him. Towner-Upshur fell, stood and was kicked back to the ground by Lidberg. As Towner-Upshur tried to flee, a punch from Lidberg sent him to the ground again. Lidberg held Towner-Upshur down and landed a heavy punch to his head.
Lidberg called his girlfriend, who is a nurse, and asked her to take Towner-Upshur to a hospital. Lidberg, a friend and his girlfriend took four minutes to place Towner-Upshur into the car and drive to Abbott Northwestern.
Lidberg took Towner-Upshur's "limp body out of the car," put him in a wheelchair and pushed him into the hospital. Lidberg, his girlfriend and the friend got back in the car and left.
"In total," the complaint read, Towner-Upshur "spent approximately 40 minutes unconscious without medical attention."