BE youth sentenced here for ‘Kato case
A 17-year-old Blue Earth boy was sentenced in Faribault County District Court on Nov. 25.
The court proceedings, having mainly been held in Blue Earth County where the incident occurred, were concluded with a disposition hearing in Trace Hafner’s county of residence.
Hafner pled guilty to second-degree manslaughter and third-degree drug possession after the death of his girlfriend, Chloe Moses.
Judge David Peterson explained that since this case was handled primarily in Blue Earth County, he was bound to the decisions made within the plea bargain set forth by that court.
Hafner was to receive two sentences, one as a juvenile and one as an adult as a part of the EJJ (extended juvenile jurisdiction); all set forth in the previous plea agreements in Blue Earth County.
A six-month stay of adjudication was set forth for the manslaughter charge, which will be closed if and when he adheres to the requirements of his probation.
The third-degree drug possession will also be stayed as long as he meets all conditions set forth.
The conditions included: no contact with the victim’s family; writing a letter of apology; continue psychological counseling; completing a chemical dependency assessment and following guidelines which are a result of that assessment; attend AA?or NA meetings once per month; and complete 150 hours of sentence to serve.
However, it was the wish of Moses’ family that Hafner do more than meet those requirements. It was their hope that he participate in efforts to raise awareness in the public.
Judge Peterson, in addition to the previous plea agreement conditions, included that wish made by the family as part of Hafner’s requirements.
“I think it is important the system tries to do something to bring some hope out of this,”?Peterson said. “I require that you engage in an extensive effort to speak to youth groups and high school students in order to get this message out.”
Peterson added that the logistics of this requirement would be left with the probation officer.
The judge hoped by having Hafner, who has been through this situation, speak to others would help to prevent someone else from being ignorant in a similar situation.
“Chloe was a beautiful, bright, creative and sweet child; very much loved by all,” Gail Christensen, Chloe’s grandmother said. “Why would smart and healthy kids choose to experiment with a drug, risking ill effects for a high? We are very surprised Chloe would take that drug.”
The family continues to question the events that took place at the Moses’ home in Mankato on the night of March 7. The two children took a drug they thought was LSD?but turned out to be a synthetic drug called 25C-NBOMe.
Moses had a bad reaction to the drug, resulting in seizures from which she ultimately died while in the hospital days after taking the drug.
“That night, she desperately needed oxygen as Trace wondered for 10 hours what to do,”?Christensen adds.
He did not call 911, however, during the disposition hearing Hafner did express his apologies to the family for that.
“I can’t say anything that will change history, this was a great tragedy and I am deeply sorry,” Hafner said. “I was confused, scared and ignorant…I didn’t have a grip on what was happening.”
Christensen spoke about a law which was passed in Minnesota this summer called the Good Samaritan/911 Act.
“Those who call 911 in a medical emergency, even in the cases of illegal drugs or underage alcohol consumption were not prosecuted,”?she said. “The priority is always to save a life. These laws are useless unless they are widely known in the public.”
The family thought that Hafner should take positive action by raising awareness on this subject.
Both Christensen and Chloe’s mother, Anna Moses, expressed that if Hafner had called 911 that night, Chloe’s death probably could have been avoided.
“In cases like this, it exposes the true limits of what a court can actually do,” Judge Peterson adds.
However, he hoped the condition requiring Hafner to engage in public speaking about his experience to other youth would be a positive way to educate, and hopefully prevent others from becoming involved, in similar situations.
“I’m a real believer in the limitation of words, the real issue is going to be how you live your life,”?the judge told Hafner. “This is your chance to put your money where your mouth is.”
Family members of both the victim and the defendant were emotional and tearful throughout the disposition hearing.
Chloe’s family hoped she would be remembered as the compassionate, kind and funny 17 year old that she was not to be forever associated with the names of drug dealers and the other details associated with the incident.
“I can’t think of a better legacy for her to have left on this earth than for being known for the kindness that she gave to everyone,”?Moses said. “She made a difference in this world, and she was and still is my entire world. The person I?used to be died that day with Chloe.”