The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

December 28, 2012

Attorneys receive large portion of Kasota shooting settlement

MANKATO — Attorneys received a large portion of the  $750,000 settlement Le Sueur County paid to the family of a Kasota man who was shot to death by a deputy in 2009.

A judge ordered the county to issue two settlement checks for the death of 24-year-old Tyler Heilman. He was wearing swim trunks when he got into a physical altercation with Todd Waldron, a Le Sueur County sheriff’s detective who was in plain clothes and driving an unmarked vehicle when he confronted Heilman about traffic violations in Kasota on July 20, 2009.

In a news release issued Thursday, the attorney representing Heilman’s family, James Behrenbrinker, also said he hired an expert who concluded the shooting could not have occurred the way Waldron had described.

Federal Judge John Tunheim ordered the first settlement check be made out to Behrenbrinker and a trust fund in the amount of $525,000. Of that payment, $325,000, or about 43 percent of the $750,000 total, will be used to cover attorneys’ fees, costs and disbursements. The remaining $200,000 will be paid to Heilman’s relatives.

Another settlement check for $225,000 will be issued to MetLife Tower Resources Group to create a trust fund for Tyler Heilman’s son, Haydin, who was 3 years old when his father was killed. Those funds will be invested and used to issue structured payments to Haydin Heilman between June 1, 2024, and Dec. 1, 2055.

The lawsuit was filed against Waldron and Le Sueur County by Tyler Heilman’s father, Mark, in 2011. A grand jury had been called to decide if criminal charges should be filed against Waldron, but decided in November 2009 that the shooting was justified.

Waldron told investigators Heilman knew he was a deputy and attempted to “choke him out” during the confrontation. He said he was able to grab his handgun, which had fallen to the ground, and shoot Heilman in the chest once at close range while they were still wrestling. More shots were fired quickly after Waldron broke away, he said.

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