A Minneapolis man is now charged in connection with a hammer attack that put an 83-year-old in the intensive care unit with a skull fracture.
Brandon L. McMurtrey, 34, was charged via warrant this week with first-degree assault, first-degree aggravated robbery and second-degree assault in connection with an attack that took place in Blue Earth County on Nov. 10.
McMurtrey, the charges allege, was at the victim's home in Good Thunder around 12:30 p.m. that day, when he came up behind the man and hit him in the head with a three-pound hammer, knocking him to the ground. McMurtrey continued to try to hit the man, who attempted to defend himself, the charges state. The victim was able to get to his pickup truck and flee, with McMurtrey giving chase, according to the charges.
But the victim managed to lose his attacker, circling back and going to a neighbor who when called 911. He had serious injuries, the complaint says, and was taken to the hospital in need of "advanced medical care."
McMurtrey, authorities have said, was spotted in his pickup in rural Sleepy Eye and refused to pull over for law enforcement, leading them on a chase that reached 100 mph until he crashed into a stopped semi truck, the Blue Earth County Sheriff's Office said. Rescuers had to extricate him from the vehicle. He was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, according to the sheriff's office.
In the charges filed Monday, authorities said an amended criminal complaint is expected, but that they wanted to file initial charges now in order to obtain a warrant for McMurtrey's arrest.
He is not in custody as of Thursday afternoon.
Witnesses, including a former romantic partner, described McMurtrey as having been acing erratically of late, according to the charges. One family member told that woman McMurtrey suffered from "psychological issues" and had once suggested he once made a comment about killing the victim, the former partner and then himself.
The victim, who makes metal artwork in a shop on his property, had been fearful of McMurtrey since learning about threats he'd made, according to the charges, and when a detective arrived at the home following the attack, they noticed binoculars and a rifle on the victim's bed.
The victim suffered serious injuries in the attack, with a detective that visited him in the hospital the day of the attack noting blood all over his face and neck, bandages around head wounds that still appeared to be bleeding, and an eye bruised and swollen shut. The victim was also hooked up to various machines and monitors.
Despite this, he was still lucid at the time, saying he was in pain but remembered what happened, the charges state. According to authorities, the victim said:
McMurtrey had come by and they'd been chatting outside of the metal shop. McMurtrey left, but returned shortly afterward and the two walked and talked while outside. The victim did not see a hammer in McMurtrey's possession during this time.
But at one point, while in the driveway, McMurtrey walked behind the victim and without warning hit him in the head with the heavy tool, then tried to hit him more times. It was only when McMurtrey took the victim's phone and brought it to a different side of the home that the victim was able to escape in the pickup truck.
The evening of the attack, the victim was moved to an intensive care with a skull fracture and blood on the brain, the charges state.
A detective who went to the home that day found a large pool of blood in the driveway, with a tuft of hair in it, as well as a blood trail, according to the charges. Another detective who went to review footage from security cameras on the property found the hard drive for the system had been taken.