Kelly Busche, Twin Cities Pioneer Press, July 2, 2019
A man charged with fatally striking a husband and wife in an Eagan parking lot last week told police they “freaked him out” so he deliberately drove “fast and hit them hard,” according to the criminal complaint.
Jonna Kojo Armartey, 36, formerly of Eagan, was charged Monday with two counts of second-degree murder after authorities say he intentionally struck Roger and Diane Peterson.
Armartey is being held in Dakota County Jail. Bail has been set at $2 million.
Officers say surveillance video from a nearby business showed Armartey following Roger, 74, and Diane, 58, through the parking lot at 2020 Silver Bell Road where they were struck Thursday night. Armartey said in the complaint that the Petersons “freaked him out,” and he then drove “fast and hit them hard.”
The couple was taking their nightly walk down Silver Bell Road, according to the criminal complaint, when they decided to cut through the parking lot.
Police who responded to the scene Thursday found the two struggling to breathe with injuries consistent with blunt force trauma.
They were taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul where they were pronounced dead.
Armartey fled the scene, and police later found him at a hotel in Apple Valley, according to the complaint.
Officials say Armartey was on probation for three other felony convictions, including vehicle theft, third-degree assault of a correctional officer and fourth-degree assault of a psychiatrist.
“This was not an accident. The victims in this case appear to have been targeted by the defendant, the reasons for which are unknown at this time,” said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom, in a statement.