April 22, 2024

Man held on $1M bail after brother’s murder

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Reed Anfinson 

Jake Sias

Grant County Herald

Connor Bruce Grytdahl, 30, Elbow Lake, has been charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of his brother Feb. 18.

He appeared in Grant County 8th Judicial District Court Feb. 20 where he was read a statement of rights, applied for a public defender, and a probable cause to detain order was issued.

Last Wednesday, he was formally charged with second degree murder and his request for a court-appointed attorney was denied. He faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

A Rule 8 hearing has been set for March 4. At a Rule 8 hearing a defendant either enters a guilty plea or requests an omnibus hearing at which a plea is entered. At the omnibus hearing, the defendant can also challenge the constitutionality of his arrest.

Judge Benjamin Wilcox set conditions for Grytdahl at $1 million without conditions and $500,000 with conditions.

Conditions include making all future court appearances, remaining law-abiding, keeping the court and attorney informed of his current address, maintaining contact with his attorney, abstaining from alcohol and controlled substances, undergoing random testing, not leaving Minnesota without written court approval, and not using or possessing firearms or dangerous weapons.

The court determined that Grytdahl is financially ineligible for a public defender, due to his financial status. He remains detained at the Wilkin County Jail.

According to the complaint, Connor Grytdahl called the Grant County Sheriff’s Office at 9:30 p.m. Feb. 18 stating that his brother, Stephen Grytdahl, had been drinking. He told officers that his use of alcohol violated his probation rules following a charge of intoxication in Otter Tail County.

Officers stopped at the house at 9:37 and confirmed that Stephen Grytdahl had been drinking, but were unable to contact his probation officer, the complaint states. Stephen Grytdahl was told to stop drinking, with Stephen and Connor Grytdahl agreeing to separate, it says.

At approximately 11:28 p.m., Feb. 18, the sheriff’s office received a 911 call from Connor Grytdahl stating that he had shot Stephen Grytdahl in the chest. He claimed that his brother had come at him aggressively and added that he was applying pressure to the wound and attempting CPR.

When a sheriff’s deputy arrived at the house, at 324 10th Ave. SE, he found Stephen Grytdahl on the floor with blood all around him, the complaint says. Connor Grytdahl was kneeling next to his brother. Connor Grytdahl told the deputy his gun was in his waistband on the back side of his body, the complaint states.

The deputy took the gun, a Sig Sauer 9mm handgun, and observed that there was a bullet wound in Stephen Grytdahl’s chest. 

At 11:41, the Lake Region Ambulance arrived with EMTs saying Stephen Grytdahl was dead on the scene.

Connor Grytdahl claimed that Stephen, who had been in his bedroom after deputies had told them to separate, came out and the two started arguing. There was some “pushing and shoving prior to him shooting Stephen in the chest with his handgun, as he was retreating to his bedroom at the opposite end of the hallway from where Stephen’s body was found,” the complaint states.

“The defendant (Connor Grytdahl) admitted that he shot his brother in the heart with a hollow point bullet, and he acknowledged that he was aware that the shot would kill his brother,” the complaint says. He also estimated he was between 8 to 12 feet away when he fired the shot.

Law enforcement’s initial search of the house did not show any signs of a struggle and the location of the shell casing was not consistent with Connor Grytdahl’s version that the shot was fired in the hallway, the complaint says.

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