After nearly six hours of deliberation, a 12-person jury – six men and six women – found Jacob Larson guilty of first-degree manslaughter, and aiding and abetting first-degree manslaughter, both felony-level charges.
They also found him guilty of fifth-degree assault, and aiding and abetting fifth-degree assault, which are both misdemeanors.
Larson was found not guilty of two counts – second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
He was immediately remanded into custody despite his attorney, Todd Peterson, asking for him to be released and for him to continue following the release agreement that was made when he posted bail in May of 2018.
Larson, 34, of Kensington was on trial after he was accused and charged in the beating of Steven “Beaver” Hlinsky outside the Muddy Boot bar in Forada in May 2018. Hlinsky died eight days later, on May 13.
Troy Traut, a co-defendant in the case, was originally charged with the same six offenses. However, on June 6, 2019, in Douglas County District Court, he pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor fifth-degree assault charge.
As part of the deal that was reached, Traut agreed to testify against Jacob Larson. In addition, the five other charges against Traut were dropped.
As family and friends of both Larson and Hlinsky waited in the courtroom Wednesday evening, Jan. 15, there were seven Douglas County law enforcement officers present, including three bailiffs.
After the verdicts were read, Larson looked back at his family and friends who had been sitting in the courtroom during his five-day trial. No words were spoken between them. He looked back at them one more time before he was escorted away, with his lawyer following right behind him.
As Larson’s family was escorted out of the courtroom, family and friends of the victim, including his daughter, Abby Hlinsky and his mother, Dorothy Hlinsky, spoke with the prosecuting attorney, Chad Larson. Other family members thanked Chad Larson and one shook his hand, thanking him for his work on the case.
Chad Larson told the family that Jacob Larson should be in jail until his sentencing.
As Hlinsky’s family gathered in the lobby, there were many tears shed and many hugs given. The family is expected to comment about the verdict at a later time.
Douglas County Attorney Chad Larson responded via email to the newspaper.
He said, “This was a very difficult case, perhaps the most difficult case that I have taken to a jury. I’m not able to speculate as to why or how the jury reached this particular verdict, but, I have to respect it. I know that nothing will bring back Mr. Hlinsky, but it is my sincerest hope that it is a step forward for the Hlinsky family in finding some peace and closure amidst this tragedy.”
The newspaper asked Jacob Larson’s attorney for a statement and provided contact information. As of print time, he had not responded.