A local Mankato law firm successfully defends against a first-degree murder charge in Worthington in February 2020. The story was picked up by Dateline NBC and will be featured on Dec 4, at 8:00 pm. Dateline NBC will air a 2-hour episode detailing the 2015 murder investigation of 40-year old Jan Kruse, who was shot to death in her bed while her husband and teenage daughter were home.
The episode will feature interviews with husband Christopher Kruse – who was accused and acquitted of the crime – and Chris and Jan’s son, Isaac. Jan’s sister Kay, as well as other family members, are also interviewed. In total, the investigative team interviewed over 40 people, some repeatedly, and one question still remains – who would want to kill Jan?
Prior to the gunshot incident, the couple’s garage had been burned down. Were the two incidents related? “From a dead sleep, you get woken up by gunshots and you look over and see your wife is bleeding,” says Chris’s attorney, Tom Hagen. It was a shotgun slug that had hit Jan in the lower right shoulder and exited through her back. One other round had been fired, but missed. Robbery was ruled out by the investigative team, and Jan’s husband Chris became a person of interest in the case.
From the very beginning of the investigation, Chris denied ever knowing who shot his wife. According to the 911 dispatch report which occurred at approximately 2:30 am the night his wife was shot and killed, Chris told dispatchers that they were both asleep in bed when the shooting occurred.
During the trial, the state claimed a shotgun found in Chris’s shop in Brewster matched the shotgun shells at the scene of the crime. Were the two shells found at the scene shot in the shotgun found in Chris’s shop? These and other details will be explored by Dateline reporter Keith Morrison on Friday, December 4th at 8:00 p.m.
Criminal defense attorneys, Thomas K. Hagen and Steven P. Groschen of Kohlmeyer Hagen Law Office, of Mankato were counsel on this first degree murder charge. The trial went from January 27th – February 13th, 2020 in Worthington. “The jury returned a not guilty verdict and our client was acquitted for all charges.”
Kohlmeyer Hagen Law Office is located in Mankato and Rochester and practices criminal defense and family law matters.
To view the previews of the episode “Far from Spider Lake” please go to https://www.nbcnews.com/dateline.