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9 years in prison for man who beat woman's husband

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WALKER - A 25-year-old Cass Lake man was ordered Monday to serve nine years in prison for trying to kill the husband of a woman he was infatuated with.

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John Ernest Lutgen received consecutive sentences on the charges - 90 months for third-degree attempted murder and 18 months for first-degree burglary - stemming from events last Dec. 23.

District Judge John P. Smith sentenced Lutgen during a court hearing in Walker. Lutgen pleaded guilty to both counts June 11.

According to a news release, Lutgen had "an apparent infatuation with the victim's wife," whom Lutgen had been communicating with through a social networking site. The woman and her husband live near Cass Lake.

The release also said:

Lutgen entered the couple's home early Dec. 23 and tried to kill the man while he was sleeping.

"Lutgen told the wife that he believed the victim to be an unfit father and husband and asked for assistance in killing him. The wife repeatedly told Lutgen to leave and turned off her phone at 2 a.m. and went to sleep."

The woman reported to investigators that she woke up about 4:30 a.m. to find Lutgen standing in the bedroom and staring at her. She told him to leave and escorted Lutgen out the door.

When she went to retrieve a pet, Lutgen ran into the home.

The release also said the woman heard her husband screaming, and when she got to the bedroom, the woman saw Lutgen hitting her husband on the head with a piece of wood and kicking him.

The victim was able to get out of the room after the woman physically intervened. Lutgen then fled out of a window.

Officers said the victim suffered a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain, and Lutgen apparently repeatedly yelled "Die!" while beating the man. Lutgen gained entry into the home by crawling through a pet access door.

The Cass County Sheriff's Office and the Leech Lake Tribal Police Department investigated the case.

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