Wyatt Eugene Tungland was finally sentenced for the 2017 assault of a former Blue Earth Area student. Tungland was seen in Martin County District Court on Tuesday, June 11, where he pled guilty to one of the three charges against him.
Tungland pled guilty to third degree substantial bodily harm assault, a felony, under an Alford plea. An Alford plea is a guilty plea where the defendant does not admit to the criminal act, but admits the evidence presented by the prosecution would likely persuade a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The felony aiding and abetting assault charge, along with the gross misdemeanor charge of purchasing liquor under 21, were both dismissed.
In his sentencing hearing, assistant County Attorney LaMar Piper requested the court impose an added $1,000 fine along with a further 25-day jail sentence.
“The reason we are requesting this is because all of the other defendants involved in this case have acknowledged and accepted responsibility of what happened,” said Piper. “Mr. Tungland has done none of that, in fact it could be said he has done the opposite. He did not give any explanation as to why his witness (Allison Mastin) was wrong. He is in denial of what happened. Mr. Tungland has had a number of charges since this incident, including a new charge in the state of Iowa. After every event, he has been given break after break. Assertions were made that he has a lot on his plate as a 19-year-old, citing getting his GED and becoming the father of a child. A letter from his employer states that he makes $15-16 an hour, yet there is no indication he is paying child support. I just do not see anything that this defendant has learned anything from what has happened. Mr. Tungland needs to understand that hurting people has consequences.”
Judge Michael Trushenski, who has overseen Tungland’s case in Martin County District Court, agreed to a degree with what Piper stated to the court.
“Mr. Tungland has accumulated new crimes, including being picked up on a release violation just five days after this felony offense,” he stated. “This is a felony assault. Mr. Tungland is to serve two additional weekends in jail. I believe provisional jail is necessary.”
Trushenski looked at the defendant and stated,?”you have picked up multiple charges, including the pending charge in Iowa. You are a father now. You need to start worrying about that. Being a father is an incredible responsibility. I will impose four extra days and a $1,000 fine and will give you two years to pay that fine.
In total, Tungland will be on supervised probation for five years, serve the two additional weekends in jail, pay any restitution, attend an anger management class, write a letter of apology to the victim and his family, and pay the $1,000 fine.
When it came to Tungland’s opportunity to speak to the courts regarding his sentence, Tungland had nothing to say.
According to Faribault County District Court records, since the 2017 assault, Tungland also was convicted of another charge of drinking under the age of 21, fleeing a peace officer by means other than a motor vehicle, and two petty misdemeanors of speeding, once going 75 mph in a 55 mph zone, and another going 80 mph in a 55 mph zone. The charge Tungland faces in Iowa is another speeding offense.
The juvenile involved in the assault in 2017 was also sentenced earlier in the month of June. Because the case is set in juvenile court, no details are available to the public, though the original charges included third degree felony assault and aiding and abetting a third degree assault.