LONG PRAIRIE, Minn. (WCCO) — Grieving friends and family of a Minnesota mom shot and killed by her fiancé were in court on Monday, demanding justice for her.
Lacey Kuschel, 35, was shot in the back and killed as she held 5-month-old daughter, Aspen. The shooting happened at 2 a.m. on Feb. 25 in rural Todd County.
Tyler Slagerman told Todd County sheriff’s deputies he had been out drinking with friends that night and that he had grabbed the rifle because he thought he heard dogs barking. But, he says, the rifle accidentally fired, killing Lacey and narrowly missing Aspen.
Slagerman is facing charges of manslaughter and child endangerment. According to Lacey’s family, he is also seeking custody of 8-month-old Aspen.
Slagerman was in court in Long Prairie on Monday, and Kuschel’s family is pretty upset about how this is being handled. More than 30 friends and family of Lacey Kuschel were in court, wearing “Justice for Lacey” buttons. Lacey’s mother says she was a devoted new mom.
“She was shot in the back while she was holding her baby,” Betsy Kuschel said. “And that’s hard to live with.”
Friends and family say Tyler and Lacy’s three-year relationship was strained, and that Aspen’s birth increased tensions. Lacy’s father, who owns a .30-30 rifle, says the shooting could not be an accident.
“You have to have four things to do with that rifle before it will go off,” Londale Kuschel said. “I don’t buy that at all.”
“There is no allegation anywhere this was anything but an accident. There is no evidence of that what so ever,” Slagerman’s attorney said. There is 1,000 pages of police reports. There is not one indication this was not an accident. That’s all I am going to say.”
Slagerman had no comment after the court hearing.
Slagerman has been previously convicted of lying to police. In 2006, he gave a false name to an officer and in 2007, he was convicted of impersonating a police officer after he told Fridley police he was an undercover Maplewood cop. He has a string of other misdemeanor convictions, including DWI.
Monday’s hearing was continued for another 60 days. Both the county attorney and sheriff’s department declined to comment, saying this remains an open investigation and they are waiting on the result of ballistic tests from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.