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Windom man found guilty of second-degree murder

The Windom man who failed to show Monday at the Cottonwood County Courthouse for his second-degree murder trial was found guilty Tuesday afternoon.

A jury in Cottonwood County District Court found Ralph Leslie Apmann, 58, guilty of second-degree murder in connection with the Aug. 26, 2021 death of Juan Luis Morales-Rivera.

Jurors received the case Tuesday shortly before 11:30 a.m. and delivered a verdict shortly before 2:30 p.m. The defense rested without calling any witnesses.

A bench warrant was issued for Apmann’s arrest Monday after he failed to show up at the courthouse. It’s believed that he fled to the Twin Cities area. Philip Elbert, the attorney representing Apmann, told the court he had planned to have Apmann testify Monday.

A press release issued Tuesday by the office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison detailed that Apmann had been drinking in a bar in Windom on Aug. 25, 2021, where Rivera was also present and drinking. Apmann eventually asked Rivera to play pool with him, and at about midnight, Apmann and Rivera went outside the bar to smoke. An altercation ensued during which Apmann threw Rivera to the ground and held Rivera around the neck from behind until Rivera lost consciousness, the press release states.

Apmann then walked outside the bar to the parking lot and left. Rivera suffered numerous injuries, including injuries to his neck consistent with neck compression, and was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to the press release.

Apmann will be sentenced after he has been apprehended and returned to Cottonwood County.

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