MANKATO — Charges against a Mankato man accused of brutally beating an Owatonna man in South Bend Township last month have been increased to attempted murder.
A prosecutor has also filed a notice saying he will be requesting an increased sentence for 23-year-old Dustin Lee Murilla if he is convicted.
Assistant Blue Earth County Attorney Jon Kelm cited Murilla’s previous convictions for violent crimes and the cruelty involved in the incident that resulted in Murilla’s arrest July 8.
When Murilla was arrested in Mankato that night, he was in a car owned by the alleged victim. That man had been found on the side of County Road 69 near LeHillier by a passing driver earlier that night.
The injured man, who is not identified in the criminal complaint, told Blue Earth County sheriff’s deputies he had been tied up and beaten by Murilla. He said he was able to work his way out of the nylon rope that had been tied to his hands and legs and through a belt loop behind his back.
“The victim was tied up by his hands and feet and, while tied and defenseless, was continuously beaten over the head with a tire iron and car jack causing severe injuries,” Kelm said in his filing. “Defendant also used a tire iron, while the victim was tied up and defenseless, to force boxer shorts down the victim’s throat. This tore the victim’s throat causing life-threatening injuries that required immediate emergency surgery.”
Murilla had been charged with first-degree assault, kidnapping and robbery July 10. A new criminal complaint filed this month includes those charges as well as three counts of first-degree attempted murder and one count of second-degree attempted murder.
The new complaint also includes details about what allegedly happened July 8 that weren’t included in the original criminal complaint.
Murilla and the victim had been smoking methamphetamine at Wildwood County Park when Murilla told the victim he thought he was being set up for a drug bust, the new complaint said. The victim said Murilla hit him in the head with a flashlight, then told him to get out of sight when a sheriff’s deputy drove through the park a short time later.
“At that time Murilla told (the victim) to hide or he would shoot him,” the complaint said. “(The victim) stated that Murilla told him, ‘Get the f*** in the bush or I’ll kill you.’”
The victim said they left the park in his car with Murilla driving, and he was forced to sit down on the floorboards below the passenger seat. Murilla threatened to kill the victim if he didn’t cooperate, then tied him up after driving to a wooded area in South Bend Township near what is known as The Stone Cut.
He said he was then dragged into the woods by Murilla and beaten with a tire iron, with Murilla allegedly saying, “I don’t want to do this, but f***ing wetto, I have to follow procedure.” He also said he could feel his throat being ripped open when Murilla forced the boxer shorts down his throat to the depth of his collar bone. The victim, who said he thought Murilla was using “wetto” as a derogatory term for him because he is white, was eventually able to choke the shorts up far enough that he was able to breathe.
After being dragged into some bushes, flipped on his stomach and hit with the tire iron twice more, the victim started shaking rapidly in an attempt to make Murilla think he was dying, the complaint said. Murilla allegedly responded by saying, “Yeah, that’s what you get wetto.”
The victim told investigators he was lying as still as he possibly could while Murilla sat in the car and watched him. When he made the mistake of lifting his head to look, Murilla allegedly returned, this time with a car jack, and hit him in the head. Murilla then waited about 15 seconds and hit the victim in the head again with the car jack.
Murilla was arrested after a State Patrol trooper spotted him and a woman in the victim’s car near the intersection of Victory Drive and Hoffman Road in Mankato.
Murilla has previous convictions for shooting at a man in a park in New Ulm, threatening a witness and assaulting a man in Mankato. Search warrant documents that have been filed by Mankato investigators also show Murilla is the suspect in an April stabbing in Mankato.