ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Sturgeon Lake woman pleads guilty to shooting boyfriend

A Pine County woman admitted this week to shooting her boyfriend during an argument in their rural Sturgeon Lake home last summer. Karen Lynn Eaton, 39, pleaded guilty Tuesday to the August 2014 incident that was initially reported as an accident...

A Pine County woman admitted this week to shooting her boyfriend during an argument in their rural Sturgeon Lake home last summer.

Karen Lynn Eaton, 39, pleaded guilty Tuesday to the August 2014 incident that was initially reported as an accidental, self-inflicted shooting.

"I shot Dan Scott twice in the chest, resulting in a bullet lodged in his spine and lacerating his liver," Eaton wrote in a written plea agreement filed with the court.

Eaton was set to go to trial next week in State District Court in Pine City on five felony charges stemming from the incident, which occurred near the couple's 5-year-old child.

A first-degree assault conviction carries a sentence of about six to nine years in prison for an offender with no criminal history, under Minnesota sentencing guidelines. However, the plea agreement allows Eaton's attorney to argue for a lesser sentence.

ADVERTISEMENT

Prosecutors also agreed to drop several related charges, including attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault.

Judge James Reuter ordered a presentence investigation and scheduled sentencing for Nov. 24. Eaton remains free on conditional release.

According to court documents:

Deputies were dispatched to the report of a shooting at the rural Sturgeon Lake home, 23285 Farm to Market Road, on Aug. 19, 2014.

A deputy responded and found Scott, in apparent severe pain, lying in a recliner. Scott said he was cleaning a gun when he shot himself in the chest twice, but deputies doubted the story.

The report noted that Scott's wounds were not accompanied by any charring or black coloring from powder burns. The spent shell casings were located a "significant distance" apart on the floor. The weapon, a .380-caliber handgun, was found on top of a microwave in another room.

After being airlifted to Duluth for treatment, Scott acknowledged to officers that he had been shot by Eaton. He said they were engaged in an ongoing argument when she shot him with the pistol. He said he began crawling toward the door to find their son, who was outside, when he was shot again.

Eaton later confirmed to an investigator that she and Scott and been arguing throughout the day. She stated that the argument became physical and she went to the doctor because she believed she may have broken her ribs.

ADVERTISEMENT

When she returned, the argument resumed and Scott began choking her on the ground, she said. Eaton reported that she went to her truck and retrieved the pistol, shooting him twice as he approached her in a threatening manner.

Crime scene mapping disputed Eaton's account, with investigators noting that it appeared the shots probably were fired a significant distance apart and at separate times from different locations.

Related Topics: CRIME
Tom Olsen has covered crime and courts for the Duluth News Tribune since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and a lifelong resident of the city. Readers can contact Olsen at 218-723-5333 or tolsen@duluthnews.com.
What To Read Next
The system crashed earlier this month, grounding flights across the U.S.