Dad charged with attempted murder of his 2 sons pleads guilty


A Lakeville father accused of trying to kill himself and his two kids by attaching a hose to the tailpipe of his vehicle has pleaded guilty.

Jay Ernst, 28, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of attempted murder in connection to the apparent suicide attempt, the Dakota County Attorney's Office said in a news release.

According to the charges against him:

Police were called to his Lakeville home on Oct. 29, 2015, after a family member found him and his 2- and 4-year-old sons inside his vehicle, which was running in a closed garage.

A garden hose was attached to the vehicle's tailpipe and the other end of the hose was in the window of the vehicle.

Ernst fled the scene with his two sons, ages 2 and 4, before police arrived, and an Amber Alert was issued.

Police located Ernst's vehicle a few hours later as he traveled southbound on I-35E. He was taken into custody "after a brief struggle," charges said. The two boys were not hurt and the Amber Alert was canceled.

Ernst told police he didn't want to hurt himself or his kids, and the incident was his way of "crying out for help to address his addiction issues."

Ernst's sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 16 at 1 p.m. A conviction of attempted murder in the first degree carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison, according to the criminal complaint.

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