Eagan Man Pleads Guilty to Attempted Murder in 2009 Attack in Burnsville
Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Taylor James Pass, age 21 of Hastings, pled guilty and was sentenced on August 16, 2013 to Attempted Murder in the Second Degree (intentional) in connection with an assault that occurred in a Burnsville townhome on April 7, 2009. During the assault a 23 year old male victim (O.A.R.) suffered knife wounds to his throat and back. Pass entered a plea a guilty pursuant to an agreement reached with prosecutors which called for the remaining charges to be dismissed. It was also agreed that Pass would sentenced to prison for a period of 153 months, but that the execution of sentence would be stayed and he would be placed on probation for 0-20 years. The agreement also called for pass to serve 240 days in jail and that he would be given credit for time served in jail while the case was pending. Judge Patrice Sutherland accepted the defendant’s plea and sentenced Pass according to the terms of the plea agreement.
In April of 2009, Pass was charged with two counts of Second Degree Murder of 35 year old Tina SanRoman and multiple counts of Attempted Murder and felony assault of O.A.R. The charges arose out of an incident in which Pass was alleged to have stabbed SanRoman and O.A.R. in the garage of SanRoman’s townhome. SanRoman eventually died as a result of these injuries. The case was initially tried before a Dakota County jury in October of 2009. The jury returned not guilty verdicts on the charges of murder related to San Roman, but was unable to reach verdicts on the charges of attempted murder and assault of O.A.R. Subsequent prosecution of the defendant on murder charges was prohibited under the Double Jeopardy Clause of the United States and Minnesota Constitutions. However, Pass could be retried on the offenses of attempted murder and assault as the jury had not returned a verdicts on these offenses.
Prior to commencement of the second jury trial on the remaining offenses, Judge Sutherland in a pretrial ruling determined that the case could not be presented to a jury without admitting evidence regarding the murder for which the defendant had been previously acquitted. Judge Sutherland further determined that the admission of evidence related to a murder for which the defendant was previously acquitted would result in substantial prejudice to the defendant, cause confusion of the issues and would likely mislead the jury to the degree that defendant’s right to a fair trial would be violated. Based upon these determinations, the Judge Sutherland dismissed the prosecution on the remaining charges in the interests of justice. The Dakota County Attorney appealed Judge Sutherland’s rulings to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
On June 26, 2013 the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed Judge Sutherland’s decision to dismiss the remaining charges and remanded the case back to the trial court for trial. In doing so, the Supreme Court determined that a jury trial on the remaining offenses could proceed without violating Pass’ constitutional right to due process.
Backstrom commented: “The guilty plea and sentence has brought to an end this very tragic and difficult case for all concerned.” Backstrom expressed his sympathy to the family and friends of Tina SanRoman and his wishes to O.A.R. for his continuing recovery from the traumatic injuries he suffered.
For a copy of the criminal complaint, go to http://services.co.dakota.mn.us/ComplaintSearch. If you have questions, contact James Backstrom at 651-438-4440.