Man pleads not guilty to murder attempt
Published 9:50 am Friday, April 20, 2012
AUSTIN — The Austin man who allegedly struck another man in the back of the head with a baseball bat northwest of Mapleview on April 8 pleaded not guilty Thursday in Mower County District Court.
Galuak Michael Rotgai, 28, pleaded not guilty to two felony charges: attempted second-degree murder and first-degree assault causing great bodily harm. If convicted, he could face a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.
As of Monday, the victim was reportedly improving but remains in critical condition at St. Marys hospital.
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According to the court complaint, a witness in the apartment called 911 and reported that a 39-year-old Sudanese man had been struck in the head after arguing with another man. When a deputy arrived, the victim was lying on the floor, not breathing or blinking and surrounded by bodily fluids, according to the complaint.
A deputy arrested Rotgai and took him to a squad car while two other officers gave the victim CPR — according to the complaint — and detected a heartbeat after four minutes of resuscitation.
One witness was allegedly in a bedroom, heard a loud argument and a “thud,” according to the complaint. It also states that when this witness came out of the room, Rotgai was standing over the motionless victim and struck him two more times on the back of the head. The witness then said he took the bat from Rotgai and called 911, according to the complaint.
Another witness was allegedly drinking with Rotgai when the victim entered the apartment and asked for a DVD or CD, at which point Rotgai grabbed the bat and struck the victim and once more while he lay on the floor, according to the complaint. The witness also said the victim had no weapon on him and was not acting aggressively before he was attacked.
According to the complaint, Rotgai changed his story and admitted to grabbing the bat and hitting the victim while the victim kicked back. The complaint also states Rotgai allegedly admitted to hitting the victim once more after he fell.