Man acquitted in gravel pit killingMONTEVIDEO, Minn. — A Montevideo man was acquitted on charges of unintentional, second-degree murder and first-degree assault in the beating death of a Montevideo man whose body was found in a water-filled gravel pit.A Chippewa County jury returned a guilty verdict Wednesday against Ross A. Saue, 20, to a lesser third-degree felony assault charge.Saue was charged with three other men and a teenage girl in the Aug. 30 death of Jeffrey Barrett, 31, whose body was found in a Hanley Falls gravel pit, tied to a car axle to weight it down.The men were accused of beating Barrett after he got into a fight with his girlfriend during a night of bar-hopping. The group allegedly drove him from a Montevideo skateboard park and left him on a country road where they beat him some more, then returned again and found him dead, according to a criminal complaint.Barrett’s body was taken to the gravel pit west of Hanley Falls on a farm owned by an uncle of one of the men. The body was tied to the car axle and dragged into 6 feet of water. Swimmers found Barrett’s body on Sept. 7, eight days later.Saue admitted kicking Barrett once and punching him two or three times in the skateboard park. But he said he had no role in beatings afterward.’We’re happy and sad at the same time,’ Saue’s father, Dave Saue, said after the verdicts were read. ‘We’re sad for the Barrett family and our hearts go out for them.’Barrett’s family left without comment.Saue was taken back into custody and a pre-sentence investigation was ordered. Three other men remain to be tried with murder in the case: James Milton Jemming, 19, of Willmar; Dustin Vaughn, 18, of Montevideo; and Nicholas Jesse Barron, 20, of Barrett.In January, a 17-year-old Clara City girl pleaded guilty in juvenile court to aiding an offender.
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