Hutchinson man will spend the rest of his life in prison for 2011 murder of Dustin Brown
A Morrison County Jury returned a verdict of guilty against Jason Ray Dominguez Thursday evening, for the Oct. 3, 2011, murder of Little Falls resident Dustin Joseph Brown, 30.
After 2 1/2 hours of deliberation, the jury found him guilty of all charges: four counts of first degree murder; two counts second degree murder and one count of felon in possession of a firearm.
A Morrison County Grand Jury indicted Dominguez, 37, in December 2011.
After the jury returned its verdict about 5:30 p.m., Dominguez was sentenced by Morrison County Judge Douglas Anderson, while Brown’s family looked on in the courtroom. Anderson sentenced him to life in prison for the first count of first degree premeditated murder and 60 months in prison for the seventh count of possessing a pistol by an ineligible person. He will have no possibility of parole.
Since the defendant had not spoken during the entire trial, except to ask a couple of questions and answer Anderson with, “Yes, your honor,” or “No, your honor,” it was a bit surprising to those in the courtroom when Dominguez gave a statement before he was sentenced.
“This all started with money, but it didn’t end with money,” Dominguez said. “I wanted to burn his trailer down. But if I hadn’t done what I did to him, he would be sitting here and I would be dead. You don’t know him like I did.”
But that came after the jury had made its decision in a trial where Dominguez defended himself, called no witnesses in his behalf and cross-examined no prosecution witnesses.
More than a year after the indictment, the trial began Jan. 11, broke for the weekend, and closing arguments were given by the prosecution Thursday afternoon. During the trial, 38 witnesses were called.
A St. Gabriel’s emergency room doctor and a Gold Cross paramedic testified and recounted the events as they saw them Oct. 3, 2011.
Also testifying were residents of the Little Falls Cottages who recounted the events of the early morning hours of Oct. 3, 2011, the Morrison County Sheriff’s dispatcher who took the 911 calls on both shots fired and a fire at Brown’s trailer, a special agent from Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) who compiled a drawing of the crime scene and collected evidence.
Brown’s mother, Suzanne Brown, and girlfriend, Karri Yezek, testified that they had heard about a friend of Brown’s from prison named “Righty,” a nickname given Dominguez because he is missing a portion of his left arm.
A deputy with the Morrison County Sheriff’s Office told of his search on Highway 10 for a black sweatshirt and sweat pants thrown from a vehicle on the second day of testimony.
A Ramsey County forensic pathologist said seven gunshot wounds to Brown’s body were located in his left cheek, chest, head, shoulder, knee, thigh and back. Three of the bullets traveled through the body, four were recovered during the autopsy. One of the bullets was never found.
Several witnesses during the trial gave testimony regarding phone records, proving where Dominguez and his then-girlfriend, Amber Martin, were on the days of Oct. 2 – 3, 2011.
Witnesses from several convenience stores and from Walmart in Hutchinson also gave testimony pertaining to when Dominguez and Martin were at their establishments and what they purchased.
This was established through records of their purchases and video surveillance.
Samantha Flom, a friend and neighbor of both Martin and Dominguez, said she was with the defendant in St. Cloud, when he gave Brown the $1,400 to purchase methamphetamines in September 2011.
Brown never returned with the drugs, and she said Dominguez was agitated and wanted to beat up Brown.
Several people who lived at the Little Falls Cottages were witnesses in court to say a man came to their doors and asked for Brown or where he lived.
This man, they said, was heavily tattooed and was missing a portion of his left arm. Dominguez was pointed out in the courtroom.
Other witnesses gave testimony about the early morning hours of Oct. 3, 2011, when they heard gunshots and/or saw the fire at Brown’s trailer.
BCA Agent Daniel Ahlquist testified on his investigation in Hutchinson and his interview with Dominguez after the incident in Little Falls.
Martin gave long testimony about her relationship with Dominguez and the events leading up to the incident and afterward. While she knew he had a gun as they drove to Little Falls in the early morning hours of Oct. 3, 2011, she said she feared for her safety if she didn’t do what he said.
Other witnesses during the trial included law enforcement officers who assisted in locating evidence pertinent to the investigation.
Forensic evidence was offered from the BCA which matched the bullets fired with the gun in question, the tire tracks left in an alley near Brown’s trailer with the tires on the Buick belonging to Dominguez and shoe and boot prints left on Brown’s door when it was kicked by both Dominguez and police.
Also offered was evidence of blood found on the gun used to kill Brown, in the car and on shoes, both owned by Dominguez. That blood matched the DNA profile of Brown.
The case was prosecuted by Minnesota State Attorney William Klumpp and Morrison County Attorney Kosovich.
Anderson appointed Scott Wonderlich of Scott Wonderlich Law Office in Little Falls as advisory counsel for Dominguez
Morrison County Attorney Brian Middendorf said, “I want to thank the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Klumpp and Kosovich for all their hard work securing justice in this case.”
Visit www.mcrecord.com for a day-by-day review of the trial.