LITTLE CANADA, Minn. (AP) — A jury has convicted a Little Canada man of first-degree manslaughter for fatally pushing another man into oncoming traffic.

Forty-one-year-old Michael Merten III was acquitted of two more serious second-degree murder charges in Ramsey County court Wednesday after the jury began deliberating Monday afternoon. Merten pushed 47-year-old Robert Hilgren of Vadnais Heights in front of an approaching SUV during an argument in August. Hilgren died of traumatic injuries.

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Merten’s attorney proposed the manslaughter count at the close of testimony Friday. It carries a sentence of about six to eight years. His attorney had argued Merten was acting in self-defense when he pushed Hilgren during the fight.

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Two witnesses testified that Merten timed the push so the SUV would hit Hilgren. Another says Hilgren was about to punch Merten.

Merten’s sentencing is in December.

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