GREENVALE TOWNSHIP, Minn. (WCCO) — Two of the four people charged in connection with a killing in Dakota County in July have pleaded guilty to their roles.
Timothy Tuit of South St. Paul and Stephanie Peabody of Welch each pleaded guilty to a count of aiding an offender (accomplice after the fact) Wednesday, according to the Dakota County Attorney’s Office.
Tuit and Peabody were charged in connection with the death of 55-year-old Chris Lafontaine in Greenvale Township on July 1 or 2. Two others, Ryan Smith and Nicholas Taylor, were each charged with second-degree murder. Taylor also faces a count of first-degree burglary.
According to a criminal complaint, deputies responded to a burglary the afternoon of July 2. A neighbor went to check on Lafontaine, and when they knocked on the door, two men ran out and fled in Lafontaine’s vehicle.
Deputies found Lafontaine in the bathroom, dead by asphyxiation, the complaint states.
Northfield police found Lafontaine’s vehicle, and after officers tried to stop the driver, a pursuit ensued. The vehicle eventually stopped, and Peabody and Tuit were arrested at the scene.
Smith and Taylor were later arrested in Montana.
TUit and Peabody are scheduled to be sentenced May 11, 2022. Smith and Taylor will both have jury trials, beginning Jan. 10 and April 25, 2022, respectively.