“The main reason for settling cases like this is to avoid the high cost of litigation,” Hiveley said. “Trials are expensive and with the costs of going to trial in a case like this, it certainly makes a lot of sense to settle the case, especially at this amount, and have the county put this behind them and for Mr. (Mark) Heilman to get on with his life.”
Tyler Heilman was wearing only swimming trunks when Waldron confronted him in a Kasota apartment complex parking lot about his driving and demanded to see a license, which Heilman didn’t have. The two men exchanged words before wrestling on the grass.
Witnesses with Heilman said they didn’t know Waldron was a deputy. They said Heilman was winning the fight, but had possibly seen a badge on Waldron’s belt and was backing away when Waldron pulled his gun and shot him in the chest.
Waldron said his life was being threatened by Heilman, who had a criminal record that included an assault conviction. He said Heilman was choking him to unconsciousness when his gun fell from its holster. Fearing for his life, Waldron said he grabbed the gun and shot Heilman once while he was still in a choke hold. Waldron said he shot Heilman three more times as they were both standing up.
Several people witnessed the shooting. Mark Heilman, who lived about seven blocks away, ran over to the apartment complex in time to see rescuers attempting to revive his son.
Attorneys from both sides had interviewed potential witnesses and gathered background information about Tyler Heilman and Waldron. In early October Tunheim issued an order saying Waldron would have to turn over records related to any post-shooting counseling that was required by Le Sueur County, records about medical treatment he received for his neck and back before and after the shooting, and information about any performance-enhancing drugs he had used during the previous five years.