The trial for one of the men accused and charged in the beating of Steven “Beaver” Hlinsky outside the Muddy Boot bar in Forada in May 2018 will begin this week.
Jacob Larson, 34, of Kensington, has maintained a not guilty plea and asked last August for a jury trial.
Hlinsky, a Forada firefighter, died May 13, 2018 – eight days after the incident outside the bar.
Jury selection for the trial began on Friday, Jan. 3, and was expected to last several days. According to the Douglas County Attorney’s office, 64 potential jurors were being questioned individually – about 14 a day until the 12 jurors and two alternates required for the trial were chosen.
The actual trial will begin once jury selection is finished.
The Echo Press will be covering each day of the trial and posting stories on its website, echopress.com.
The other man charged in the Hlinsky case, Troy Traut, 34, of Pine River and formerly of Alexandria, pleaded guilty June 6, 2019, to a misdemeanor fifth-degree assault charge – one of six charges he was facing. As part of Traut’s deal, he agreed to testify against Larson.
Larson is facing the following charges: second-degree murder; aiding and abetting second-degree murder; first-degree manslaughter; and aiding and abetting first-degree manslaughter. All are felony-level charges.
He is also charged with two misdemeanors, fifth-degree assault and aiding and abetting fifth-degree assault.
The criminal complaint states:
Traut, Jacob Larson and two other men were sitting together at a table at the Muddy Boot on May 5, 2018. Surveillance video showed Traut appearing to approach Hlinsky several times in an “aggressive or agitated” manner, and Traut grabbing a beer bottle in front of Hlinsky and throwing it against the wall.
The video also shows Larson walking over to Hlinsky, lighting what appears to be a marijuana pipe and blowing the smoke toward him. Hlinsky appears to be directing Larson to the door, stopping to talk to the bartender, then continuing to the door with Larson.
Hlinsky did not appear to be planning to leave the bar, the complaint states, but Traut grabbed him by the arm and pulled him outside. Larson is also seen in the video putting Hlinsky in a headlock and helping to pull him outside, where they vanished from the bartender’s view and from the surveillance video.