BUFFALO, Minn. (WCCO) — One punch took a man’s life. Friday, the man who threw that punch learned his punishment.

On the morning of May 2 last year, one punch by Alex Tumoisto to the side of Adam Baker’s head would ultimately end Baker’s life, and change Tuomisto’s forever.

Wright County judge Kathleen Mottl gave Tumoisto a five-year prison sentence.

“Disappointed. We were really hoping this was something the judge realized he did not intend to do in terms of the result,” said Tuomisto’s attorney, Francis Rondoni.

That’s something everyone in a packed courtroom seemed to agree on — that Tuomisto did not intend to kill Adam Baker. It was a reason why a plea bargain was reached in February, but because of the end result, Baker’s family and the prosecution thought prison was appropriate.

As Tuomisto’s dad left the courtroom, he said his family is heart-broken.

“Alex is a good man and it was just a terrible situation. At another time and situation, Adam Baker and my son may have been best friends,” said Pete Tuomisto.

While Tuomisto’s family shed tears, Adam Baker’s family and prosecutor Tom Kelly said they supported the Judge’s sentence.

“In my opinion, there is no self defense when you just attack someone. That just doesn’t fly,” said Kelly.

In emotional testimony before the judge, Laurie Roufs described Baker as the love of her life. She said they planned on starting a family together. After the sentencing, she said she talked with Tuomisto’s mom for the first time.

“I told Alex’s mother that when he gets out, I hope he does something truly wonderful with his life because that would make Adam happy,” said Roufs.

While Tuomisto may not have meant to kill Baker, Kelly said he did intend to hurt him and this is the unfortunate result of that.

The packed courtroom, which spilled out into the hallway at the Wright County Government Center, was the largest either attorney or Judge Kathleen Mottl had ever seen.

Because of the circumstances surrounding this case, Judge Mottl commented during the hearing that, “in the end, no one really wins in a case like this.”

Comments (19)
  1. Brian says:

    Unfortunate deal all the way around. But I think the punishment fits the crime. He certainly didn’t mean to kill the poor guy, but should still serve time for what he did. I feel for Baker’s family. Very unfortunate. On the other hand, other media outlets are reporting he threw the first punches. Too bad.

    1. Mike says:

      Unfortunate? Their is another case that just finished up in court with a Hudson, WI. guy who shot bullets into his house occupied by son and friends while drunk and he is going to jail for 5 years for recklessly discharging a gun! Killing someone and doing 5 years is getting off pretty easy in my book.

      1. captainobvious says:

        Hey rearend the guy in wisconsin had intent to kill, the guy in St Micheal wanted to kick the guys butt, not kill the guy and ruin his own life also, its not as if he hit him over and over, don’t comment on things you don’t understand, which is pretty much everything.

  2. married to the truth says:

    I heard also that he threw the first punch. You summed it up pretty good. This is the down side of keeping it real and fighting.

  3. record straight says:

    Adam wasn’t in a fight. When only one person wants to fight, it’s an assault. Big difference.

    1. married to the truth says:

      The record (police statement) says Adam threw the first punch.

  4. Joe says:

    freak injury, doubt that he intended to kill – sentence too harsh

    1. Jake says:

      Agreed. Also, Adam was 3 times the legal limit on the BAC. When you are that wasted, even the most honorable person can lose all common sense, and you are in no way ready for a fight. Drunk drivers often get off with less prison time than this guy got, and there was no weapon, only ONE punch, and the perp didn’t have a lenghty rap sheet. He was an educated, working person, who has already paid a lot of costs for his ‘crime’. His sentance should be appealed. Not saying he should get probation, but 5 years is nuts. It takes two to fight. If you get trashed at a bar, learn how to walk away from a fight.

      1. record straight says:

        Adam being drunk has nothing to do with this. I’ve been drunk more times than I can count. I drank quite a bit in my day and had a lot of fun. I never assaulted anyone or even got in a bar fight. I did more that my fair share of stupid things, but never purposely tried to harm someone.

        It doesn’t matter what condition adam was in. One group was walking away from the bar to avoid fighting with Alex and his friends. Alex and his friends didn’t think this acceptable and assaulted them. Adam being drunk doesn’t change or minimize this.

        Anyone that was there knows this. Alex and his lawyer know this. That is why this did not go to court. The plead guilty to the charges knowing full well what the punishment was going to be. That was part of the plea.

        He wasn’t found guilty. HE PLEAD GUILTY.

      2. record straight says:

        It was not a fight. He was not charged with fighting. He did not plead guilty to fighting. He was charged with, PLEAD GUILTY TO, and was punished for assault.

        One group was trying to walk away. That’s the point genius. If both groups wanted to fight, it would have happened in the bar when Alex’s friends first started the assault. Instead the more sensible group left and walking away from the bar.

        This was not a bar fight. Not even close. Everyone that was there knows this. So does Alex and his lawyer. That’s why the agreed to the charge and the punishment when they PLEAD GUILTY. The plead down to 60 months before they accepted the plea. Not that hard to understand.

  5. record straight says:

    He intended to assault him. He was charged and plead guilty to assault. Not even the maximum for the crime he committed and plead guilty to.

  6. artist says:

    Amen. Eye for an eye.

  7. Rob says:

    Just another stupid Punk that is Stupid. Have fun in prison Maam

  8. st. michael guy says:

    Poor alex, I feel for the family. Sorry for what happened with adam too. I knew alex and he isn’t that “monster” of a guy. He didn’t intend for any of this. Don’t matter if any of you agree with me cause I don’t care. All I care is that Alex can have a normal life and Adam’s family can have a normal life as well.

    1. captainobvious says:

      Thats the difference Alex can have a normal life, adam has no life, you may be the least intelligent person to walk this earth.

  9. Keeping it real in Minnesota says:

    The saddest part is that someone is 6 ft under forever, and won’t come back. And this guy will serve 2/3 of 5 years unless he wants to punch someone up and lose good time in the joint. When he gets out, he will be worse for the wear. NOT a better person……I think the prison sentence should have been stayed, so he could prove himself to his community by living on supervision for 10 years.

  10. J says:

    That corner bar in St.Michael hasn’t changed a bit. It was the same way 25 years ago. I’ve seen this kind of thing happen many many times in that place, and around that town. Seems the “culture” is that every guy is out to prove himself. Apparently Alex lives above this bar, and any person that’s been in there more than once knows what I’m talking about.

  11. MrsKP says:

    I don’t understand why everyone is argueing about the details. It was a sad and tragic accident and one person lost his life and another lost apart of his. Why don’t we just pray for all the friends and family involoved instead of bashing each others thoughts.

  12. The Truth says:

    What everyone has left out here is that Alex and his friends did NOT follow Adam and provoke a fight. What DID happen was that Adam and his friends were very drunk and were beating the heck out of Erick Kolles. Alex saw this, so he ran over to pull people off of Kolles. At this point Adam threw a punch at Tuomisto, which resulted in ONE return punch. Because Adam had a .23 BAC he had no balance – which caused him to fall. And ALSO beause he had a .23 BAC he was unable to break his fall with his hands. So Adam hit his head on the pavement. It is true of course, that the people who attended the sentencing hearing did not hear this story. Why? Because the County Attorney, Tom Kelly “cherry-picked” his facts, choosing some inaccurate and disproven witness statements over others – and WITHOUT even pointing out that what he represented to be “facts” were instead, in dispute and – at best – unclear. But one thing WAS clear to those in the courtroom – that the defense attorney, Rondini, did not counter these gross exagerations by Kelly, because Rondini was unprepared for this – he obviously did not expect to be “sandbagged” by Kelly.

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