Dominguez murder trial begins Wednesday

Hutchinson man faces first degree murder for 2011 shooting in Little Falls

By Terry Lehrke, News Editor 

Jason Ray Dominguez
Jason Ray Dominguez

Jury selection will begin Wednesday, in the trial of Jason Ray Dominguez, accused  of the 2011 shooting death of Dustin J. Brown in Little Falls.

Dominguez, 37, was indicted in December 2011 on four counts of first degree murder and two counts of second degree murder by a Morrison County Grand Jury. Morrison County District Judge Douglas P. Anderson set bail at $1 million.

Dominguez remains in the Morrison County Jail.

Brown was found unconscious at his mobile home in Northwest Little Falls with seven gunshot wounds just before 4 a.m., Oct. 3, 2011. Officers also found a small fire burning under the porch of the trailer.

Brown was pronounced dead at St. Gabriel’s Hospital at 4:47 a.m.

Dominguez, 37, and Brown, 30, were cellmates in the St. Cloud prison. Dominguez had been released just two months before the shooting, Aug. 3, 2011, after serving two years and eight months of a four-year sentence for illegally possessing a pistol in McLeod County.

Dominguez had previously been convicted on felony charges in Montana for theft in 2001 and assault in 2006 and in Arizona for credit card fraud in 1994 and motor vehicle theft in 1997.

During the investigation, authorities interviewed several people who allegedly said Dominguez told them that he wanted to kill Brown, because Brown owed him $1,400.

One person said Dominguez allegedly paid Brown $1,400 Sept. 1, 2011, for 2 ounces of methamphetamine, which was never delivered.

They traveled to Little Falls the following day to look for Brown without success.

Neighbors told investigators a one-armed man had been in the area looking for Brown over the course of several weeks. Dominguez has only one arm.

Dominguez was arrested in Hutchinson Oct. 4, 2011.

The criminal complaint said Dominguez originally told authorities he and his girlfriend and her three children had gone to Little Falls the evening of Oct. 3, to visit a friend.

Dominguez’ girlfriend allegedly told authorities that while in Little Falls, Dominguez and Brown argued about money before they drove back to Hutchinson, where she said Dominguez obtained a 3.80 Smith and Wesson semi-automatic pistol.

The two drove back to Little Falls, where she dropped him off on Lindbergh Drive and then drove around until he called her a few minutes later to pick him up.

The girlfriend allegedly said Dominguez, who was covered in blood, told her, “I shot him seven times” and showed her seven shell casings.

The shell casings were thrown into a farm field in the country before the couple stopped at a Rice gas station. A video system recorded the two as they purchased bleach, washed the car and Dominguez’ clothing, and threw a purse and hat into the trash behind the car wash.

As they traveled to Hutchinson, clothing and shoes were tossed out of the vehicle. The items in the trash were recovered and the shoes were found along Highway 15, just north of Kimball.

In Hutchinson, the couple purchased a shovel and buried the gun in southeast Hutchinson. With the help of Dominguez’ girlfriend, both the shovel and the gun were recovered by agents with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

The BCA investigation also revealed taped conversations  Dominguez had with prison inmates in September 2011, during which he threatened to kill Brown.

Prosecuting the Dominguez case is Assistant Attorney General William F. Klumpp Jr., and Morrison County Assistant Attorney Todd Kosovich.

Dominguez has pleaded not guilty and waived his right to counsel Nov. 26, 2012. However, Judge Anderson appointed Scott Wonderlich with Scott Wonderlich Law Office in Little Falls as advisory counsel for Dominguez, at a rate of $85 per hour. This fee is paid for by Court Administration, an entity of the state.

The services of the State Attorney’s Office are offered at no cost to the county, but expenses, such as mileage, are reimbursed.

Murder in the first degree (premeditated), Count 1 against Dominguez, is punishable by life in prison with possibility of parole. Counts II, III and IV, first degree murder while committing a burglary, while committing arson and while committing aggravated robbery are punishable by life in prison with possible parole after 30 years.

Murder in the second degree is punishable by up to 40 years in prison, with parole possible after 27 years in prison.

The charge for a felon in possession of a firearm is punishable by imprisonment for not less than five years no more than 15 years.