Suspect in Myre-Big Island murder requests lower bond; Current bail is set at $200K

Published 11:12 am Friday, September 9, 2016



ALBERT LEA — The Brownsdale man charged with murder in last month’s fatal shooting at Myre-Big Island State Park requested a lower bond Thursday in Freeborn County District Court.

David Michael Easter, 26, is charged with second-degree murder in the Aug. 23 shooting death of Spencer Daniel Brown, 23, of rural Freeborn County.

Easter’s attorney, Jeremy Clinefelter of Donnelly Law Office in Austin, argued the court should consider a $25,000 surety bond, or a $5,000 cash deposit, noting his belief that bail needed to be adjusted based on Easter’s financial status.

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Conditional bail is currently set at $200,000.

Clinefelter said keeping Easter in jail would cost taxpayers more money, noting his belief that Easter is not a flight risk and that his use of an Omaha, Nebraska, address is for tax purposes.

“If there is a person who is not a flight risk, it’s Mr. Easter,” Clinefelter said, noting Easter has been married for nearly two years and has been living in Minnesota since 2012.

Assistant Freeborn County Attorney David Walker argued conditional bail be set at $250,000 as recommended in a bond study due to the severity of the charge.

He said the court already approved a lower bond for Easter than what was recommended in the study, and he expressed concern over Easter’s ties to Nebraska and to other states.

Walker disputed Easter’s claim that he has limited ties to Nebraska, noting Easter has an apartment and a valid gun permit in Nebraska, but not one in Minnesota.

Easter did not have a Minnesota driver’s license at the time of the shooting, Walker said.

He cited Easter’s current unemployment as a reason for his requested bail amount, noting under state statute Easter’s unemployment must be considered.

Clinefelter claimed Easter had an interview scheduled with a Minnesota company before his arrest, noting his belief that Easter would be employed if he was not incarcerated.

District Court Judge Steven Schwab did not set bail so he could review case law.

The Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office has visited Omaha, Nebraska, since the shooting.

Authorities have stated Brown was found dead in a locked 2001 Audi station wagon the evening of Aug. 23 in a parking lot near the Big Island pavilion after dispatchers received a 911 call from Easter.

Easter reportedly told dispatchers he had shot Brown in self-defense and claimed Brown approached him with what appeared to be a bat.

Easter’s wife and infant daughter were also reportedly at the pavilion at the time of the shooting but were not injured.

Authorities stated last month evidence does not show the shooting was in self-defense.

Easter was a private first class and received a general discharge from the Minnesota National Guard in July. He has been unemployed since July 1. Easter’s wife is a member of the Minnesota National Guard. The couple married in 2015.

Easter’s next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 22.

Second-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. Pending no criminal record is found, Easter faces a presumptive sentence of more than 25 years in prison.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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