Trial begins for man accused of harassing Chilly Spring household as a result of race


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ST. CLOUD – A Stearns County jury will resolve within the coming days whether or not a 33-year-old Chilly Spring man is responsible of stalking and assaulting a Chilly Spring household due to their race.

“What brings us all collectively at the moment is hate, rage, jealousy and assault,” mentioned Assistant Stearns County Lawyer Jamie Reinschmidt throughout opening statements for the trial Tuesday.

Benton L. Beyer, who’s white, is accused of crashing a stolen SUV in July 2021 into the house of Andrea and Phil Robinson, a biracial couple, as a result of he suspected his girlfriend on the time was dishonest on him with a Black or biracial man. .

Beyer faces 11 felony counts, together with stalking, assault with a harmful weapon, theft and property harm. He’s additionally accused of violating a restraining order issued in opposition to him in Could 2021. The grievance says that Beyer acted “due to the sufferer’s … precise or perceived race or shade.”

The grievance in opposition to Beyer states he stole the automobile from an acquaintance in Chilly Spring, drove to the Robinsons’ residence and positioned a chunk of granite on the accelerator, crashing it into the home and inflicting intensive harm. One little one was sleeping in the lounge close to the place the automobile hit the home.

After the incident, Andrea Robinson, who’s white, spoke out concerning the racism her household had endured in Chilly Spring. Her husband Phil Robinson is Black and the couple has biracial youngsters.

The Robinson household had no connection to Beyer or his girlfriend, aside from the truth that Beyer’s girlfriend labored at a bunch residence close to the household’s home, Reinschmidt mentioned Tuesday.

In his opening assertion, protection legal professional Jason Migala informed jurors the one assault they may find out about in the course of the trial is an assault on Beyer and his character. Migala mentioned many witnesses will say Beyer is a “jerk,” however there will not be proof displaying he harassed or attacked the household.

In keeping with court docket paperwork, attainable witnesses embrace 911 dispatchers, native and federal regulation enforcement officers, and the Chilly Spring man who informed police Beyer stole his automobile. Prosecutors may additionally introduce DNA proof and surveillance video.

The trial is scheduled to run by means of Sept. 13.

Trial begins for man accused of harassing Chilly Spring household as a result of race

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