Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Jay Anthony Ernst, age 28 of Lakeville, pled guilty today to one count of Attempted Murder in the First Degree (involving premeditation) in connection with an apparent suicide attempt that, if successful, would have also resulted in the death of Ernst’s two children that took place in Lakeville on October 29, 2015. Judge Kathryn Messerich set the sentencing date for September 16 at 1:00 p.m. in Hastings.
Around 1:35 a.m. on October 29, 2015, officers were dispatched to a Lakeville residence where Ernst had been found by a family member inside of his vehicle in a closed garage with a garden hose attached to the tailpipe of the vehicle, which was running, with the other end of the hose inside the window of the vehicle. The family member pulled the hose out and pounded on the window, at which time Ernst, who had been inside the back closed hatch door of the vehicle, got out, opened the garage door, said goodbye, and drove away. The family member then called the police. When it was determined that Ernst’s two young sons, ages two and four, were inside the vehicle with him, an Amber alert was issued. Around 4:30 a.m. Burnsville police located Ernst’s vehicle as it was traveling southbound on I-35E and was taken into custody after a brief struggle.
Additional facts pertaining to this case can be found in the criminal complaint which is located online at: Criminal Complaint. Prior news release can be viewed at Attorney News Releases. While in custody, a mug shot can be viewed at: Inmate Search.
Backstrom praised Assistant County Attorney Elizabeth Swank who prosecuted the case. Backstrom thanked the Lakeville Police Department and Burnsville Police Department for their assistance in this investigation.
If you have questions, contact James Backstrom at 651-438-4440.