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Grice charged with first degree murder

Jonas Gerald Grice could spend the rest of his life in prison for the shooting death of Anthony Hartman.

A grand jury has charged Jonas Gerald Grice with first-degree murder for the shooting death of Anthony Hartman July 12 at a Rosemount car wash. The charge for premeditated murder could mean Grice, 27 of Burnsville, will spend the rest of his life in prison.

"This is an extreme act of violence that included shooting a defenseless man who was on the ground," said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom, explaining why his office sought first-degree charges.

Along with the first-degree charge Grice has been charge with intentional murder in the second degree.

A grand jury decision is required to press first-degree murder charges. The new charges take precedent over the prior charges so Grice went back before a judge for new bail standards on Tuesday. Grice remains in custody.

If convicted of premeditated murder Grice will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of release, said Backstrom.

Grice allegedly shot Hartman after a brief altercation at the Car Spa Car Wash on Canada Avenue. Hartman confronted Grice after he had tried to pick a fight with one of Hartman's friends. Hartman pushed Grice, then Grice reportedly pushed Hartman to the ground and fired a hand gun four times at Hartman.

According to the Dakota County medical examiner Hartman was hit three times¬-- twice in the abdomen and once in the back of the head. The examiner stated that Hartman died as a result of the shot to the head.

Grice drove away from the car wash. His parents brought him to the Burnsville Police Station to turn himself in.

According to the complaint filed in Dakota County, Grice told Burnsville Police, "It was in self defense, that is all I'm saying."

The friend, who was with Hartman at the time identified Grice as the murderer after police showed him a photographic line up.

Detectives from the Dakota County Sheriff's office spoke with Grice's girlfriend on July 14. During the interview she told detectives that Grice had called her the evening of the incident and told her he was going to wash his car. Later that night Grice showed her a gun. The girlfriend told Grice he didn't need it and took it away from him.

After getting a search warrant detectives recovered the gun, which matched the witnesses' description, from the girl's residence.

Grice has a history of violent behavior. In 2003 he was convicted of fifth degree criminal assault. In 2005 he was convicted of criminal sexual conduct.

Because of his violent past Grice did not legally have possession of the gun used. Backstrom said it is not known where he obtained the .38 revolver. He said because the older gun was made before laws requiring registration were passed that tracing the weapon is difficult.

Grice also has a history of mental illness. In 2007 Grice was civilly committed for six months.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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