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Austin man charged with helping juveniles rob, fatally beat 75-year-old man at his home

The 18-year-old is accused of aiding and abetting three violent crimes.
Francisco Javier Lagunes Silva.

Francisco Javier Lagunes Silva.

An 18-year-old is accused of helping three others rob and assault a 75-year-old man, with the group fleeing the scene and leaving the victim to die.

Francisco Javier Lagunes Silva, of Austin, Minnesota, was charged Thursday with aiding and abetting three different crimes: second-degree murder, aggravated robbery and first-degree assault. Silva, the charges allege, was one of four young males involved in the fatal beating of William Hall earlier this month.

Hall was found dead on the floor of his greenhouse on Oct. 13 by the people who'd come to deliver his food, the charges state. A neighbor also noted a brandy bottle on their property, matching the brand Hall preferred, along with a holster. And Hall's adult children's later told police they couldn't find some of their father's items, including a .22 caliber revolver.

The medical examiner said Hall died as a result of multiple blunt force injuries, which resulted in fractured ribs and internal bleeding.

At least two of the other suspects authorities say were involved in Hall's death are juveniles, with one just 12 years old. They are identified in the criminal complaint only by their initials. Bring Me The News has reached out to the Mower County Attorney's Office for more information. 

Silva made his first court appearance Friday morning, and was granted an order for a public defender. His next court appearance is set for Nov. 8 at 10 a.m.

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Hall, in an obituary, is remembered as an avid outdoorsman, "from bird watching and hunting to exploring with grandkids. He loved fishing, boating, camping, traveling, and playing bingo. He especially loved spending time with his grandchildren and supported them in all of their activities. ... He found happiness in the simple things in life and taught others to do the same."

Here's what the criminal charges against Silva allege

Investigators were able to begin to identify suspects thanks to surveillance footage from Hall's neighbor. The footage showed four young males show up at Hall's home around 1:32 p.m. on Oct. 12, where they biked to the north side of the property's garage. They walk away, and at one point Hall can be heard yelling, "Give me my pipe back!"

Video captures one male then running to a nearby intersection, and the three others back to the garage where they hop on their bicycles and flee the scene.

Detectives spoke with two juveniles, separately. They gave differing accounts of what, precisely, happened. However, both said they'd been there with "Smokey" — a moniker for Silva — and one other person.

The first juvenile, on Oct. 26, said a fellow suspect, a 12-year-old boy, had mentioned he knew a place  they could go to "do a job" and "smoke some weed." He said the group of four confronted Hall outside, and that someone — though he wasn't sure who — pushed the victim to the ground. They took some marijuana, cigarettes and money then left. While departing, the juvenile noticed Hall trying to lift himself up off the ground by holding on to a trailer hitch.

Detectives then spoke with the 12-year-old, who laid blame at the feet of the other juvenile. That suspect, the 12-year-old said, took Hall's pipe, then pushed him down to the ground. When he tried to get up, that juvenile then also punched him in the face. The 12-year-old said Hall looked to be in pain, and he did not think the victim was OK. The 12-year-old also said it looked like Hall may have tried to push a medical alert button. They then took some marijuana and some money, and "Smokey" took a bottle of brandy, and they left.

A friend of Silva's said that a few days after the incident, Silva and the three suspects — all of whom they identified in a photo — had mentioned they "robbed an old man."

Authorities arrested Silva on Oct. 27. He was wearing the same clothing as he had on in the surveillance video.

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