Jury hears 911 call from Easter the night of Brown’s death

Published 10:05 am Friday, April 7, 2017

ALBERT LEA — Jurors on Thursday heard the audio of the 911 call dispatchers received from the man who reportedly shot and killed a rural Freeborn County man last August.

In his first statement to dispatchers, David Michael Easter, 27, said he was at Myre-Big Island State Park with his family when someone pulled up in a car and stepped out with a bat when he and his family were getting in their truck.

David Michael Easter, 27

David Michael Easter, 27

“I’m a concealed and carry person and under self-defense I shot him, and he’s sitting, lying in his car. I need cops now,” Easter could be heard saying.

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The statements came in the second-degree murder trial against Easter, who is charged with the Aug. 23 shooting death of Spencer Daniel Brown, 23.

Easter, who referenced heavy rain falling during the call, was heard saying the shooting took place by the picnic area at the state park. He said he left that area with his wife and baby and headed toward the main entrance because he said he didn’t know if the man he had shot had any friends with him.

The dispatcher advised Easter to unload the clip of his gun and to wait at the entrance of the park for authorities to arrive. The dispatcher told Easter that when he saw an officer arrive, he needed to step out of the car and put both hands in the air. His wife and baby were in the truck.

Freeborn County Sheriff Kurt Freitag said he was at home when he received a phone call at either 9:21 or 9:22 p.m. from a dispatcher about the incident. He immediately got into his car and started driving to the scene. On his way, he said he called Detective Ryan Shea, who he assigned to conduct the investigation, as well as the state duty officer to request assistance from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

When he arrived at the main gate of the park at about 10 p.m., the sheriff said there were several officers already on scene, and he talked with a deputy to get more details of what was taking place. Easter and his family were no longer at the scene.

When Freitag went further into the park to Big Island, he said he saw Brown’s Audi station wagon parked nose-in to a parking stall in the parking lot. One of the deputies had a spotlight on the vehicle, and another deputy had his vehicle parked close to the back of the car so it could not roll away.

Officials with the BCA arrived shortly after 11 p.m., and that is when he took a closer look at the scene. Freitag noted he at first looked into the station wagon through the windshield, before looking into the car through the driver’s side window, which was covered with a blanket of some kind.

He said Brown had two holes in the side of his head — one near his left temple and the other on the cheek. Brown’s seat had been reclined, and his chest was exposed, the sheriff said. Defibrillator pads were still stuck to his chest, and his right hand was extended, with the palm up, laying over the center console. He had a golf club in that hand.

Freitag said Easter did not have a permit to carry in Minnesota, and said a Nebraska permit was not valid in Minnesota. The sheriff discussed the steps his office takes when someone wants to obtain a permit in the state and said Easter had some “behavioral things” in his past in Nebraska that would have been of great concern to him as a sheriff if Easter were to have applied for a permit in Freeborn County.

In a question to Freeborn County District Court Judge Steven Schwab after the jury left the room, public defender Michael Ryan questioned this statement from the sheriff, calling it prejudicial.

Schwab later ordered the statement was not prejudicial and noted it was given in response to a question asked by Ryan.

On Friday, the jury is expected to hear from other officers who responded to the scene.