Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Jonna Kojo Armartey, age 37 formerly of Eagan, pled guilty late yesterday to two counts of Murder in the Second Degree (Intentional) in connection with deliberately driving his vehicle into 58-year-old Diane Peterson and 74-year-old Roger Peterson on June 28, 2018, killing them both, while they were walking in Eagan. Judge Shawn Moynihan scheduled the sentencing for Armartey on October 11, 2019 at 1 p.m. in Hastings.
The following is a summary of the facts pertaining to this case:
Shortly before 10:00 p.m. on June 28th, Eagan police officers were dispatched to a parking lot on a report of two people in need of medical attention. When officers arrived, they found both Diane and Roger Peterson struggling to breathe. Both were transported to Regions Hospital where they were pronounced dead. The injuries were consistent with blunt force trauma.
Witnesses at the scene provided statements that the Petersons had been struck by a silver van, which sped away from the scene. A short time later, Officers responded to a report that a mini-van matching this description was in a parking lot of a restaurant less than one mile from the initial scene. Officers observed a Dodge Caravan with front-end damage and the majority of the windshield was cracked. Diane Peterson's cell phone was found wedged under the passenger side windshield wiper. It was learned that the registered owner of the mini-van had sold it to Armartey months earlier.
In an interview, Armartey stated he saw the Petersons and that they “freaked him out" so he ran them over “going fast and hit them hard".
Additional facts pertaining to this case can be found in the criminal complaint, which is located online at: http://www.co.dakota.mn.us/LawJustice/CriminalComplaint/Pages/default.aspx. While in custody, a mug shot can be viewed at: https://www.co.dakota.mn.us/LawJustice/Jail/Pages/default.aspx.
Backstrom commented: “We are pleased that Jonna Armartey has accepted responsibility for this senseless and violent crime that tragically killed two individuals in our community. On behalf of everyone involved in the investigation and prosecution of this crime, I wish to extend our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Diane and Roger Peterson for their great loss".
Backstrom thanked the Eagan Police Department for their investigation of this case, and the Minnesota State Patrol and the Dakota County Sheriff's Office that assisted in the investigation. Backstrom also thanked the first responders first responders for their assistance at the crash scene.
Backstrom praised Assistant County Attorney Kathy Keena who prosecuted this case.
If you have questions, contact James Backstrom at 651-438-4438.