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Northfield, MN (KROC-AM News) - The four people convicted of charges stemming from the murder of a Northfield area man last summer were sentenced yesterday and three of them are headed to prison.

A news release issued by the Dakota County Attorney's Office says 30-year-old Nicholas Taylor was given the longest prison term. He admitted to a second-degree murder charge in connection with the death of 55-year-old Chris LaFontaine and was sentenced to 21 years in prison. 36-year-old Timothy Tuit was given a 92-month prison sentence for his conviction on an aiding an offender charge and 23-year-old Ryan Smith received an 80-month prison term for first-degree assault as well as a count of aiding and abetting.

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Getty Images/iStockphoto
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The only person charged in the case to avoid prison is 26-year-old Stephanie Peabody. She entered a guilty plea to an aiding an offender charge and was given a stayed prison term of 69 months and was ordered to serve 10 years on probation.

LaFontaine was found dead in the bathroom of his rural Northfield home on July 2, 2021. Dakota County Deputies conducting a welfare check discovered him with his hands and legs bound together with a rag and glove fastened over his mouth, resulting in his death from asphyxiation.

The deputies went to the property after a neighbor called 911 and reported seeing two men running away from the victim's home and speeding away in the victim's SUV. Northfield police later found the stolen vehicle and arrested Tuit and Peabody. Taylor and Smith managed to get away but were later apprehended in Montana.

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