MINNESOTA (WCCO) – Dakota County Attorney Kathy Keena announced charges against four individuals in connection in connection to the July 2 murder of 55-year-old Chris Jon Lafontaine at his home in Greenvale Township on Tuesday.
Ryann Elizabeth Smith, 22, of White Bear Lake, and Nicholas Alan Taylor, 29, of St. Paul, were each charged with second-degree murder without intent. Taylor also faces a first-degree burglary charge. Stephanie Marie Peabody, 25, of Welch, and Timothy William Tuit, 36, of St. Paul, are charged with aiding an offender and first-degree burglary.READ MORE: Group Files Lawsuit Over Potential Ballot Question On Replacing Minneapolis Police Dept.
The incident occurred after authorities were summoned to reports of a burglary in progress on the 31500 block of Foliage Avenue. A neighbor of Lafontaine stopped by because he hadn’t heard from him in a few days and when that person arrived, three people fled the residence in Lafontaine’s white Durango.READ MORE: The Do's And Don'ts As Air Quality Alert Casts Pall Over Minnesota
Deputies said when they entered the residence to check on the victim they found him in a bathroom, deceased. An autopsy was conducted and the victim’s death was determined to be an asphyxial type death. Shortly after discovering the victim’s body, Northfield police officers located the victim’s vehicle and after initiating a traffic stop, the suspects fled. Eventually the vehicle stopped and all three suspects fled into a nearby woods. Officers managed to arrest the driver, Peabody and the front seat passenger, Tuit. Taylor was later arrested in Montana along with Smith.
Video footage from the victim’s home shows Taylor, Smith and the victim together in the residence in the early morning hours of July 1. A phone was also found in the Durango, believed to belong to Tuit, shows discussion of their plan and what took place at the victim’s home.MORE NEWS: Minnesota Weather: Air Quality Alert Extended Due To ‘Unprecedented’ Conditions
Tuit made his first court appearance on these charges Monday. Bail was set in the amount of $400,000 without conditions ($200,000 with conditions). His next court appearance is scheduled for August 5, in Hastings. Peabody, Smith and Taylor were charged but have not appeared on this case yet.