HASTINGS, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota man told investigators that a married couple “freaked him out” before running them over in a minivan, just one day after being kicked out of an apartment by his family, according to a criminal complaint Monday charging him with second-degree murder.
Prosecutors in Dakota County said 36-year-old Jonna Kojo Armartey fatally struck 58-year-old Diane Peterson and 74-year-old Roger Peterson of the Twin Cities suburb Eagan last Thursday as they were walking near a strip mall. Police said they found Diane and Roger Peterson struggling to breathe, and they later died after being taken to the hospital.
Police arrested Armartey several hours later at an Apple Valley hotel roughly six miles away after he abandoned the minivan.
“This was not an accident,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in a statement announcing the charges. “The victims in this case appear to have been targeted by the defendant, the reasons for which are unknown at this time.”
Diane and Roger Peterson had been married for more than 37 years and were on their typical walking route the evening they died.
Armartey allegedly told investigators the couple “freaked him out,” so he ran over them “going fast and hit them hard,” according to the criminal complaint.
Court records show that Armartey was on probation for three prior felonies at the time of the incident for convictions that included assaulting a correctional officer and a psychiatrist.
He was also civilly committed from June 2016 to December 2017 after a psychologist deemed he wasn’t mentally competent to proceed in one of the assault cases.