MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The man accused of fatally running over a Twin Cities couple last week as they took their nightly stroll allegedly told police that the two “freaked him out” and so he hit them with his minivan.
Jonna Armartey, 36, of Eagan, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in connection to the Thursday night hit-and-run, court documents filed in Dakota County show.
According to a criminal complaint, Eagan police officers found the victims, 74-year-old Roger Peterson and 58-year-old Diane Peterson, lying in a parking lot of a strip mall on the 2000 block of Silver Bell Road.
The two were struggling to breathe, and emergency crews brought them to Regions Hospital, where they were pronounced dead. Medical officials said their wounds were consistent with blunt force trauma.
Witnesses told police that a silver van struck the couple and fled the scene, the complaint states. Surveillance video showed the vehicle following the Petersons as they walked through the parking lot in what police described as their nightly stroll.
Shortly after the hit-and-run, another witness called 911, saying he found the van at a restaurant less than a mile away.
When officers walked up to the van, they found the windshield cracked and damage to the vehicle’s front end. Also, one of the victims’ cell phones was wedged under the passenger side windshield wiper.
Inside the van, officers could see prescription pill bottles in Armartey’s name.
Investigators later learned that the day before the hit-and-run, Armartey had been kicked out of his apartment following a dispute between him and his family. He was then seen loading belongings into his minivan.
On Friday, police arrested Armartey at a hotel in Apple Valley.
In an interview with police, he said the Petersons “freaked him out” and so he ran them over. He told officers he was going fast and hit them hard.
He did not know them personally.
If convicted of the murder charges, Armartey faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison on each count.