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Six defendants sentenced in Lac qui Parle fatal party

MADISON — One by one Wednesday, six of the college-age students who pleaded guilty after a party that led to a young man’s death stood before a judge to receive their sentences.

Dawson-Boyd High School senior Michael Anyasike was among an estimated 100 youths attending the party in March. Anyasike, 18, of Dawson, fled and his body was found the following day at a farm site about one mile from the party. He died of hypothermia with alcohol as a contributing factor, according to the medical examiner’s report.

District Judge Dwayne Knutsen accepted the guilty pleas Wednesday and issued a stay of adjudication or a continuance for dismissal when sentencing the six defendants, ages 19 through 20, in Lac qui Parle County District Court.

Their convictions on minor offenses will not be entered as criminal records if they complete their sentences, although their arrest records will continue to show the charges.

First to appear before the judge was Erik Patrick Hastad, 19, of rural Madison, who faced the more serious of the charges. Hastad pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and a misdemeanor charge of violating Lac qui Parle County’s social host ordinance. He is accused of hosting the March 8 party at an unoccupied farm site formerly owned by his late uncle in Hantho Township.

Hastad told the judge he had no comment before receiving his sentence of a two year stay of adjudication for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The sentence requires that he serve two years of probation and 30 days in jail. He is to serve the first 15-day segment of the jail time beginning Saturday, and the second 15-day segment beginning June 7, 2015.

He was granted work release for his summer roofing job.

He and the other defendants told the judge they are working summer jobs and attending college.

The sentence also requires that he abstain from alcohol or other controlled substances, submit to random drug tests, and pay a $50 fine and any fees.

Four other 19- and 20-year-old men, and a 19-year-old woman, followed Hastad to the defendant’s seat. The judge accepted guilty pleas from each to charges of fleeing a police officer by means other than a motor vehicle and underage consumption.

They too received stays of adjudication for one year, although one defendant received a six-month continuation for dismissal. The five are to serve one year of unsupervised probation requiring that they abstain from alcohol or other controlled substances. One, who will turn 21 soon, was ordered to undertake a chemical dependency assessment and abide by its recommendations during the one-year-probation period.

Earlier in the day, an 18-year-old man also charged with fleeing a police officer by means other than a motor vehicle and underage consumption appeared in court for a settlement conference. His sentencing date is yet to be scheduled.

One other defendant in the case, Gary Hastad, 59, of rural Madison, is scheduled to appear in court June 25. He faces a single charge of violating the county’s social host ordinance. He is the father of Erik Hastad. He is not accused of being at the party. The criminal complaint charges that he should have known about the party. The complaint alleges that other parties had been hosted at the farm place, and that snow had been cleared at the site.

Gary Miller

Born and attended public schools in Willmar, Minn. Served 20 years in U.S. Navy as a photojournalist. Worked at West Central Tribune since retiring from the Navy in 1994.

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