Updated: 08/20/2013 4:44 PM KSTP.com By: Maricella Miranda
Taylor James Pass
Photo: Photo: Dakota County Sheriff's Office
The case against a man suspected in a 2009 killing and assault in Burnsville has come to end after years of prosecution.
Taylor James Pass, 23, of Hastings, pleaded guilty last week in Dakota County District Court to attempted second-degree murder in connection with the April 7, 2009 assault at a townhome.
A 23-year-old man suffered knife wounds to his throat and back in the incident. The man's roommate, 35-year-old Tina SanRoman, also was fatally stabbed at the house.
After the assault, Pass was charged with two counts of second-degree murder in SanRoman's death, as well as multiple charges in the assault of the male victim, who was her roommate, according to the Dakota County Attorney's Office.
Pass was friends with the victims, authorities said.
In 2009, a jury returned not guilty verdicts in the charges related to SanRoman's death, but was unable to reach verdicts in the assault of her male roommate.
Pass was retried in the charges related to the roommate.
But before the second trial, Dakota County District Judge Patrice Sutherland ruled that the case couldn't be presented to a jury without including evidence related to SanRoman's murder. Sutherland also ruled that submitting such evidence would be prejudice to the defendant, since Pass was acquitted of the murder.
Not including such evidence also could confuse the jury - further violating the defendant's right to a fair trial, Sutherland ruled at the time. Sutherland dismissed the case against Pass - a ruling that the Dakota County Attorney's Office appealed.
In June, the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed Sutherland's ruling to dismiss the case. A jury trial could continue without violating Pass' constitutional right to a fair trial.
Pass pleaded guilty Friday, Aug. 16, to attempted second-degree murder. Other charges against him related to the assault were dismissed in the plea deal.
"This is a case that we had to fight long and hard to pursue our ability to maintain some measure of justice in this case," said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom. "It was a challenging case, and a difficult case for everyone concerned. I'm glad he accepted a level of responsibility in the manner."
Pass was sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison, a sentence that will be stayed while he serves up to 20 years of probation, Backstrom said. His probation term ultimately will be decided by the county's community corrections department and a judge.
Pass also has to serve 240 days in jail. He'll be given credit for time served.