Lagarde Guilty of Assault; Will Tesify Against Co-Defendants
Aaron Lagarde, 18, of Minneapolis will serve up to a year in jail for his role in the assault of Hinckley driving instructor Dwaine Palmer.
Lagarde accepted a plea deal to third degree assault. Part of the agreement is that he testify against Olaf and Johnath0n Thomas, who are also charged in the case. Lagarde said he has received threats to keep quiet about the case.
The other charges against Lagarde, including Aiding/Abetting Assault in the first and second degree, as well as Aiding/Abetting Simple Robbery, and Aiding/Abetting Aggravated Robbery in the first degree, were dropped.
Largarde took the witness stand Friday in court. He gave vivid details of the November 29th morning when Palmer was attacked. Lagarde told the court that he, Olaf “OJ” Thomas, and Johnathan “Smokey” Thomas were at a party on Lawler Avenue in Hinckley where they did “a lot” of drinking into the early part of the morning.
According to Lagarde’s testimony, the three confronted Palmer who was walking his dog and started a conversation. Lagarde said he doesn’t remember the exact nature of the conversation, but was told later by “OJ” that Palmer said something that Lagarde took the wrong way.
“We walked across the street and started talking to him,” said Lagarde. “I don’t remember what was said, and we ended up assaulting him.”
Lagarde said “Smokey” first punched Palmer in the face. Lagarde then pushed and hit Palmer in the face. He went on to say that “OJ” hit Palmer in the stomach and when he bent over in pain, “OJ” upper-cutted him sending Palmer to the ground. When he tried to get up, Palmer was kicked in the ribs by “OJ” and then Lagarde said Smokey began stomping his face.
Lagarde said OJ also kicked Palmer in the face while he was on the ground.
The assault ended with the three men going into Palmer’s jacket pocket and stealing his cell phone.
“Smokey said ‘hold on’ dug in dudes pocket, grabbed his cell phone, and [we] ran,” said Lagarde.
The attack left Palmer with a broken nose, jaw, eye sockets, and cracked ribs.
Sentencing for Lagarde is set for July 29th. Olaf and Johnathan Thomas are due back in court on June 3rd.
Olaf Thomas, 22, of Sandstone faces Aiding/Abetting Assault in the first degree and Aiding/Abetting Aggravated Robbery in the first degree.
Johnath0n Thomas, 20, is charged with Aiding/Abetting Assault in the first, second and third degree. If convicted, he could spend a maximum 62-years in prison and pay over $100,000 in fines.