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Northfield, MN (KROC-AM News) - A third person has entered a guilty plea in the case of the murder of a rural Northfield man last summer.

Dakota County Attorney Kathy Keena has announced that 29-year-old Nicholas Taylor of St. Paul on Friday pled guilty to a second-degree murder charge for his involvement in the death of 55-year-old Chris Lafontaine. The victim was found dead in his home on the afternoon of July 2 after Dakota County deputies responded to a report of a burglary in progress at the residence.


The criminal complaint says a neighbor had gone to check on Lafontaine and after knocking on the door, sought to men run away from the residence. Other witnesses saw the men fleeing the scene in the victim's vehicle.

Lafontaine was found in a bathroom with his hands and feet bound together. The court document also indicates a rag and a glove had been secured over his mouth and an autopsy blamed his death on asphyxiation.

The county attorney says, after the discovery of the murder, police in Northfield spotted the victim's stolen SUV, but after officers stopped the vehicle all three of the occupants ran into a wooded area. Two of them, Stephanie Peabody and Timothy Tuit, were captured at the scene and previously pleaded guilty to charges of aiding an offender. They are scheduled to be sentenced on May 11.

Taylor managed to elude Northfield police but was later captured in Montana in the company of Ryann Smith. The news release says she is currently scheduled to stand trial on a second-degree murder charge in late May.

Taylor's sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 2. He is currently being held without bail in the Dakota County jail.

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