For Release: December 13, 2017
Contact: Tim Rutkowski, Huron County Prosecutor, (989) 269-9255
In order to keep the public informed about the status of current cases, the following information is being provided on the case of People vs. Rusty Krohn.
On October 10, 2017, Rusty Krohn of Elkton, Michigan was arraigned on four separate crimes, which were:
- Assault with a Dangerous Weapon
- Careless Discharge of a Firearm causing Damage Over $50
- Possession of a Firearm While Under the Influence
- Discharge of a Firearm while Aimed, without malice and injury
In part it was alleged that on October 9, 2017, the defendant assaulted a person with a dangerous weapon, that being a shotgun. Because this particular assault charge was a felony, it required that a hearing be scheduled (Preliminary Examination) in front of the Honorable D. Herrington to determine if there was sufficient evidence (probable cause) for the case to ultimately go to trial.
A preliminary examination is not a trial, but a hearing where the prosecution must establish reasonable grounds that the elements of a felony crime have occurred and that the person charged with the crime committed it. If the court does not find by probable cause that the crime was committed or that the person charged did it, the prosecution cannot proceed with the felony charge(s).
On November 28, 2017, the Preliminary Examination was held before the Honorable D. Herrington with Assistant Prosecuting Attorney David Wallace representing the People of the State of Michigan, and Dale Cubitt representing the Defendant, Rusty Krohn. At the hearing there was testimony from:
- Victim of the alleged assault
- Trooper A. Mullin
- A Representative from the Huron County Dispatch (911)
- Edward Kosinski
A summary of their court testimony is below.
1. Victim’s Testimony
The victim testified that in the evening hours on October 9, 2017, he was going to use a family tractor and a merger on some of his property. He stated that when he was in the tractor cab, he saw the defendant, but did not see a gun and did not fear being assaulted by the defendant. He acknowledged that he heard a loud noise which at some point he attributed to the tire blowing out on the merger. The information provided by the victim is different than what was stated to the 911 dispatcher and Trooper Mullin at the scene.
2. Tooper Mullin’s Testimony
Trooper Mullin testified that he and other officers were dispatched to Canboro Road for a shots fired investigation and upon their arrival they found the victim., Rusty Krohn, Edward Koskinski, and Adam Fritz present. Rusty Krohn, the Defendant, was found hiding under the tractor. In speaking with the Victim, he told the Trooper that he was just trying to use the tractor and the merger. That he got in the cab of the tractor, saw a flash of light, thought he was being fired upon and got down on the floor of the cab and that he was scared for his life. While on the scene, the trooper located a Remington Shotgun in the Defendant’s vehicle. The trooper also saw a flat tire on a merger and there was a leak in the tractor’s fuel tank. Two 12 gauge fired shot gun shells were found at the scene as well.
3. 911 Dispatch Representative’s Testimony
The representative from the Huron County Dispatch brought the 911 recording from when the victim called for help. The recording was put into evidence and played for Judge Herrington. During the call, the victim stated that he was “getting shot at in the tractor,” and that the defendant was firing the gun. He also stated that the defendant shot out the tires out of the machinery. On the recording the victim said he was laying on the floor of the tractor cab waiting for the officers to arrive.
4. Edward Koskinski’s Testimony
The defense called Edward Koskinski as a witness who testified that while at the scene, he and the Defendant saw the victim getting onto the tractor. That because there were some possible monetary issues between the victim and the Krohn family, the Defendant told the victim to stop, whose response was to say “stop me if you can.” The defendant then went back to his vehicle, got the shotgun, and fired a warning shot into the air. Mr. Koskinski then told the Defendant to shoot out the tire of the merger. The Defendant then fired at the merger, shooting out the tire and the shell also continued on going into the tractor’s fuel tank causing a fuel leak.
District Court’s Ruling
After all of the testimony was finished, the prosecution requested that Judge Herrington “bind” the case over for trial. Mr. Wallace argued that when the defendant was told to “stop me if you can”, by the victim, the Defendant went back and got a gun from his truck and then fired two shots, the warning shot and one towards where the victim was located. That based on those actions, there was probable cause to believe it was the defendant’s intent to put the victim in fear of being shot, and that the victim, based on the trooper’s testimony and the 911 call, reasonably feared that action.
Judge Herrington ruled that while he believed the victim was reasonably afraid of an assault, he did not believe it was the defendant’s intent to harm or assault the victim. The court recognized the lower standard of probable cause, but found insufficient evidence that the defendant intended to assault the victim, that it was the Defendant’s intent to stop the tractor from being taken. The felony charge was dismissed by the court with the remaining charges set for a pre-trial on December 14, 2017. As always, the Defendant is presumed innocent of all charges until he is proven guilty in a court of law.
 A criminal charge is called a felony when the possible punishment is more than one year of incarceration.
 Probable cause is the legal standard when the court must find reasonable grounds for supposing that a charge is well-founded.
 A request to have the case proceed to the next step and ultimately be set for trial on the charged offense charge, in this case a charge of Assault with a Dangerous Weapon.
 The remaining charges are misdemeanors (One year or less possible incarceration as punishment), which means that the Preliminary Examination did not involve those three offenses, only the Assault with a Dangerous Weapon.