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Legal challenge raised in Ruchti case

WILLMAR -- A legal challenge will need to be resolved before a district judge can rule whether or not Edward Alan Ruchti, 29, of Watkins, violated terms of his probation and can be ordered to serve a stayed, 18-year prison sentence.

Ruchti, formerly of Willmar, appeared before District Judge Donald Spilseth on Thursday for what originally had been scheduled to be a probation revocation hearing. Instead, the judge agreed to consider written, legal arguments on a legal challenge raised by defense attorney John Mack. The judge said he would rule in early April on how to proceed in this case.

Kandiyohi County has charged Ruchti with felony domestic assault by strangulation and terroristic threats, plus misdemeanor domestic assault. He allegedly choked his girlfriend and threatened her life while she drove a vehicle on Feb. 4. near the Eagle Lake 'Y' on Highways 23 and 71 north of Willmar. He also allegedly abandoned her there after the incident.

By committing those actions, Kandiyohi County is also charging that Ruchti violated terms of his probation for a May 2002 conviction of first degree assault against his wife at the time.