MANKATO — A man found bleeding by a motorist in Le Hillier Sunday night told investigators he was bound, beaten and left for dead in a woods by a man who was arrested in Mankato a few hours later.
A man who had been driving on Blue Earth County Road 69 called 911 at about 8:15 p.m. Sunday after he found the victim, a 25-year-old Owatonna man who is not being identified by authorities, bleeding on the side of the road near an area in Le Hillier known as the “Stone Cut.”
An ambulance and sheriff’s deputies responded to the Quick Mart of Highway 169, which is where the victim was taken by the driver.
When the victim was interviewed, he told investigators he had traveled to Mankato to look for methamphetamine and met 23-year-old Dustin Lee Murilla a couple days earlier. He said he and Murilla had been smoking methamphetamine in a park, later identified as Wildwood County Park between Eagle Lake and St. Clair, when Murilla hit him in the head with what he thought was a flashlight.
After that assault, Murilla told the victim he was going to bring him to a relative’s house to clean up. They left Wildwood Park in the victim’s 1995 Toyota Corolla and the victim said he was forced to ride with his face on the floorboard of the passenger side of the car. The victim also said Murilla used a nylon rope to tie his hands and feet behind his back and to a belt loop in his pants.
At some point the victim was dragged along a rock path near the area he was found. He said Murilla beat him with a tire iron before using the tool to force a pair of boxer shorts down his throat. While pretending to be dying, the victim said he opened his eyes and Murilla hit him in the head twice with a car jack.
The victim also reported Murilla told him he has “got rid of 18 people before,” according to a criminal complaint filed in Blue Earth County Court Tuesday afternoon. He said he was able to free himself after Murilla left and walked to the county road. The victim’s father told investigators his son underwent surgery for injuries to his throat and was in intensive care at the hospital in Mankato.
Blood, shoe marks and other evidence were found both in Wildwood Park and the area in Le Hillier where the victim said he was assaulted. Murilla was arrested at about 11:40 p.m. Sunday after he was allegedly found driving the victim’s car near the intersection of Hoffman Road and Victory Drive in Mankato. He has been charged with kidnapping, first-degree assault, auto theft and false imprisonment.
Murilla was released from jail June 22 after striking a plea deal for an April 30 assault in the parking lot of a Mankato apartment complex. Robbery and assault charges were filed, but Murilla reached a plea deal with prosecutors that reduced the charges to one gross misdemeanor charge of fifth-degree assault. He was sentenced to the three weeks he had served in jail.
Court documents also show Murilla is a suspect in an April 29 stabbing that hasn't resulted in charges. In that incident, a man was walking home from Mankato's downtown entertainment district when he was stabbed in an alley near a Grove Street residence.
A cell phone that police suspect belonged to Murilla was found about 200 feet away from where the victim was stabbed, according to a an affidavit that was filed to request a warrant to search the phone. A telephone number marked "mom" on the phone was the number for Murilla's mother, the affidavit said. The victim was only able to give a general description of the assailant.
Murilla was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2009 after he pleaded guilty to a felony assault charge related to a shooting in New Ulm. In September 2009 he used a 9mm semi-automatic pistol to shoot at a man in North German Park. Murilla, who was in a car driven by his girlfriend at the time, fired one shot in the air and at least one shot toward the victim as several people watched. He pleaded guilty to second degree assault for that incident.
Although Murilla was released from jail after the June 22 plea deal, he hasn't been sentenced for the April 30 assault at the Mankato apartment complex. That sentencing is scheduled to take place Aug. 20 before District Court Judge Bradley Walker. Conditions of Murilla's release included being law abiding and not using alcohol or other drugs.