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Host pleads guilty in party that led to teen’s death

MADISON — Guilty pleas have now been entered by five of the eight defendants charged with violations related to the party attended by a teen who died after fleeing from the party.

Michael Anyasike, 18, of Dawson, died of hypothermia. His body was found March 9 about one mile from the farmhouse in west-central Minnesota where the party was held.

Erik Patrick Hastad, 19, of Madison, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of violating Lac qui Parle County’s social host ordinance, and a gross misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He entered the pleas in district court in Lac qui Parle County on April 14.

The judge has instructed that sentencing be scheduled on the same day for all of the defendants in the case related to the party, according to Lac qui Parle County Attorney Rick Stultz.

The defendant’s father, Gary Hastad, 59, of Madison, was arraigned on a charge of violating the social host ordinance in district court on Wednesday. He did not enter a plea. The complaint charges that he should have known about the party where alcohol was available to underage persons.

Four of the six persons charged with underage consumption have pleaded guilty. Two others have not yet made court appearances with their attorneys, but are expected to enter guilty pleas, according to the county attorney.

Erik Hastad could face up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine on the gross misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

He is alleged to have hosted the March 8 party at an unoccupied farm site formerly owned by his late uncle. Hastad pleaded guilty in Yellow Medicine County in February to a charge of underage consumption, his fourth such conviction.

An estimated 100 youths — some in high school and others college age — are believed to have attended the party, according to the criminal complaint.

A number of the youths fled when law officers arrived that night, including Anyasike. He died of hypothermia with alcohol as a contributing factor, according to the medical examiner’s report.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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