The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

April 1, 2013

Assault charges dismissed after victim's story challenged

MANKATO — About a month after someone came forward to tell investigators they had arrested the wrong guy, assault charges have been dismissed against a St. Peter man who spent 34 days in jail for the incident.

Jacob John Friedrichs, 31, was arrested Feb. 22. A warrant had been issued for his arrest after Gary Stillwell called 911 at about 8:50 p.m. Jan. 8 to report he had been attacked in his house by two men. Stillwell told Blue Earth County sheriff’s deputies he could hear his wife, Ashley Stillwell, outside the house yelling, “not in front of the kids,” while he was being beaten with a bat.

Friedrichs was tied to the incident because the person who hit Stillwell dropped a set of keys in the house. One of the keys was for a Jeep, registered to Friedrichs at the time, that was found a short distance from the house.

Although Friedrichs doesn’t deny going to Stillwell’s house that night, he said he left immediately after a confrontation started between Gary Stillwell and 28-year-old Timothy Garth Hansen Jr. of Mankato.

Friedrichs’ version of the story was supported by Hansen, who called The Free Press from jail on Feb. 27 to describe what he told investigators about the incident.

“I guess I just want the world to know I’m innocent,” Friedrichs said Monday. “I’m not that kind of person. I’m not an assaultive person.”

Hansen said he and Friedrichs were at the house because Ashley Stillwell was moving out and wanted to get some of her property. A mutual friend asked Hansen to stand by while she was there because Gary Stillwell had been aggressive in the past. He also was told Stillwell had a knife collection and possibly a gun, so Hansen said he brought a bat for extra protection.

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