Troy Traut, a co-defendant in the case involving the beating and eventual death of Steven “Beaver” Hlinsky in Forada in May 2018, was in Douglas County District Court Thursday, Feb. 13 for a violation of his release conditions.
After testifying in the case on Jan. 13, Traut, formerly of Alexandria, now of Pine River, reportedly spoke to a member of Hlinsky’s family, which his release agreement does not allow him to do.
Traut’s attorney, Gary Leistico of St. Cloud, told Judge Timothy Churchwell that Traut was sorry for the situation. Leistico said Traut would admit to talking to Abby Hlinsky, the daughter of the deceased, in the hallway outside the courtroom.
Traut told Hlinsky, “I’m sorry for your loss,” according to his lawyer.
Leistico told the judge that Traut has not had any other violations and that he has not shown any animosity toward the Hlinsky family.
“He didn’t mean to do it,” said Leistico.
The prosecuting attorney in the case, Douglas County Attorney Chad Larson, was unable to be in court but another attorney from his office was there. The message sent from Larson was that it was a clear violation of Traut’s release conditions in that he was to not have any contact with the Hlinsky family, but that he would refer to the court for an appropriate course of action.
Churchwell said he reviewed video of the exchange and that a violation was made. However, the nature of Traut’s statement or his tone was not clear and so the judge didn’t have enough information to impose a ruling.
Based upon statements made in court Thursday afternoon, Churchwell said he would defer any action until Traut’s sentencing hearing, which will take place Tuesday, May 5, at 2:30 p.m.
Traut was originally charged with the same six offenses as Jacob Larson, 34, of Kensington. However on June 6, 2019, Traut pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor fifth-degree assault charge.
As part of the deal that was reached, Traut testified against Jacob Larson and the other five charges against him were dropped. Because Traut took the plea agreement, he was able to post bail and is not currently in jail.
On Jan. 15, a 12-member jury found Jacob Larson guilty of first-degree manslaughter, and aiding and abetting first-degree manslaughter, both felony-level charges. He was also found guilty of fifth-degree assault, and aiding and abetting fifth-degree assault, both misdemeanors.
Larson was found not guilty of two counts – second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree murder.