A Minnesota man who shot and killed a teenager attempting to rob his home has been sentenced to 90 days in jail, two years of probation, and 100 hours of community service.
David Allen Pettersen, 65, was charged with second-degree manslaughter following January’s fatal incident. As part of a plea deal, Pattersen pleaded guilty to felony dangerous discharge of a firearm and was sentenced yesterday by Watonwan District Court Judge Gregory Anderson.
“I do not perceive him as a threat to public safety,” Anderson said at the sentencing, according to local news outlets. “He acted out of fear and maybe some stupidity.”
Anderson also said he believed Pettersen is remorseful, a decision based in part on the statements Pettersen made during the course of the trial.
“I take no satisfaction from his death and I will carry that awful responsibility with me for the rest of my life,” Pettersen said. “But none of you who wish to call me a murderer were there that morning.”
On the morning in question, Pettersen awoke to find three teenagers attempting to break into his home. One of them, 18-year-old Kyle Thomas Nason, had already climbed onto the balcony of Pettersen’s bedroom window.
Retrieving a .45-caliber handgun, Pettersen ran to his front door, where he saw two other teenagers— 18-year-old Cornelius Ayers Jr. and 19-year-old Nicolas Thomas Embertson—in a car alongside Nason.
“It was obvious the driver was trying to run me down,” Pettersen said.
But as the car drove away, Pettersen shot at the car in what he says was an attempt to shoot out the tires. Instead, he struck Embertson, who died shortly thereafter.
“Mr. Pettersen consciously took the law into his own hands,” said Embertson’s mother, Tracy McCabe.
“My son was not a threat to him,” she said. “My son did not enter his home. He was given a death sentence.”
The pre-sentence investigation initially proposed a sentence of 180 days in jail, which Judge Anderson cut in half.
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Defense Attorney James Fleming argued that the “unusual circumstances” of the incident also warranted a stay of imposition, which would have reduced the charge to a misdemeanor after the sentence was completed.
“To hang a felony conviction on him for the rest of his life under these circumstances is not justice,” he argued.
But Anderson disagreed, and Pettersen will have to live with the consequences of a felony conviction, which include a revocation of his Second Amendment rights.
Cornelius Ayers Jr., one of Embertson’s accomplices, admitted the trio was intending to burglarize Pettersen’s home. He was sentenced to 15 days in jail. Kyle Thomas Nason was sentenced to 45 days in jail.