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Man Gets 4 Years For Burnsville Manslaughter

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robert michael thomas, burnsville shooting, homicide

(credit: Dakota County Jail)

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HASTINGS, Minn. (WCCO) – A man was sentenced to four years in prison after admitting he fatally shot another man in his Burnsville home last January.

According to the Dakota County Attorney’s Office, Robert Michael Thomas, 47, pleaded guilty last month to shooting 38-year-old James Edward Koenig.

The Jan. 23 shooting happened in Thomas’s home after he and Koenig got into an argument.

Judge Timothy McManus handed down the 48-month prison sentence on Thursday.

According to the original criminal complaint, Koenig’s girlfriend and Koenig’s 13-year-old son were also inside the residence when the alleged shooting took place.

The girlfriend told police that they were all invited over to Thomas’ townhome to watch the Green Bay Packers game on Sunday. She said she left for a short time and when she returned, Koenig and Thomas were drinking straight vodka out of white coffee cups.

She said an argument started and Thomas told Koenig to leave. After Koenig refused and began yelling, Thomas allegedly came back with a shotgun and again told Koenig to leave.

“Using guns to resolve disputes is never appropriate,” said county attorney James Backstrom. “Instead of picking up a gun, Thomas could have picked up a phone and dialed 911.”

Thomas had been indicted on one count each of murder while committing second-degree assault, manslaughter, intentional discharge of a firearm, endangering another and reckless discharge of a firearm in a municipality, all of which are felonies. He pleaded guilty to the charge of manslaughter.

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