LITTLE FALLS — A Morrison County jury returned a verdict of guilty Thursday against Jason Ray Dominguez on four counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and one count of a felon in possession of a firearm.
Dominguez, 32 of Hutchinson, was found guilty after a seven-day trial before Judge Douglas P. Anderson in Little Falls. Assistant Attorney General Bill Klumpp and Assistant Morrison County Attorney Todd Kosovich represented the state. Defendant Jason Dominguez represented himself. Scott Wonderlich of Little Falls was appointed stand-by counsel for Dominguez by Judge Anderson.
The Morrison County jury deliberated for two and one-half hours before returning their verdict at 5:24 p.m. Thursday finding Dominguez guilty of premeditated first-degree murder and three other first -degree murders: Murder while committing a burglary; murder while committing arson and murder while committing an aggravated robbery. He was also convicted of two counts of second-degree murder: Intentional murder and murder while committing second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. Dominguez, a convicted felon, was also found guilty of felon in possession of a firearm.
Dominguez was convicted of shooting and killing Brown in his Little Falls trailer house in the early morning hours of October 3, 2011. Little Falls police were dispatched to residence after two 911 calls, one that shots had been fired and a second reporting Brown’s trailer was on fire. Little Falls Police Officer Rick Mattison discovered Brown on the floor in his bedroom. Brown was rushed to St. Gabriel’s Hospital in Little Falls, where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy revealed Brown had been shot seven times including twice in the head and once in the back.
Investigation revealed that a heavily tattooed, one armed man had been looking for Brown in the weeks leading to his death. It was discovered that Brown was friends with Dominguez and that they had met while incarcerated together at Stillwater State Prison. Dominguez’s girlfriend, Amber Martin, testified that Dominguez was upset that Brown owed him $1,400. Evidence also showed that Dominguez had told several persons that he wanted to kill Brown because of the debt.
Dominguez set fire to the porch in front of Brown’s trailer, then broke into it and confronted Brown in his bedroom. After the shooting, Dominguez told Martin he had shot Brown seven times. Video surveillance tapes from Little Falls, Rice and Hutchinson showed Brown washing his car, disposing his clothing and buying a shovel in the hours following the shooting. Other items of clothes, including Dominguez’s shoes were found along Highway 10 and Minnesota Highway 15 between Little Falls and Hutchinson. Martin led authorities to a park where Dominguez had buried the gun.
Before sentencing, Dominguez told Judge Anderson that he first went over to Browns trailer “to burn it down.” When the trailer failed to catch fire, he broke in and shot Brown to “prevent retaliation.” Dominguez said that “this was never just about money” and “it is what it is.”
First-degree premeditated murder carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. Brown’s relatives watched as Anderson sentenced Jason Dominguez to live in prison without possibility of parole.
Morrison County Attorney Brian Middendorf said, “I want to thank the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Mr Klumpp and Mr Kosovich for all their hard work securing justice in this case.”