Police: Sartell man randomly murdered with a hammer, suspect possibly on meth

Fargo police said a Sartell, Minn. man was randomly murdered with a hammer at the hands of a man possibly high on meth near the North Dakota State University campus after taking too long to get him a glass of water.

Police said 24-year-old Samuel Traut was found dead in his rental home at 1122 12th Street North early Tuesday. Firefighters initially responded to a report of a fire. Chief Dave Todd said Traut was killed with a hammer and the suspect had attempted to set the home on fire multiple times, a believed attempt to mask the evidence, police said.

Ashley Hunter, 35, was arrested at another home behind Traut's. Police believe Hunter was possibly on meth and wound up at Traut's door in a state of paranoia, Chief Todd said. Another man, 45-year-old Clarence Flowers, was found dead on Monday after he was apparently stabbed to death more than 50 times at 319 12th Avenue North. Court documents say Hunter told police he stabbed Flowers because he was "upset with Flowers for always stealing his girlfriends, overcharging him for drugs, and always showing him disrespect."

Police had been searching for Hunter during the 10 hours that elapsed between both murders, but Hunter finally turned himself in. He told investigators that after the murder, he hopped the fence to his neighbor's house, asked Traut for a glass of water, and when it took five minutes, he feared Traut was calling police because his picture was already all over the news.

Traut was a missionary and had recently returned from a month-long trip in Peru. He was working as a civil engineer in Fargo after graduating from NDSU in 2013. His rental home was owned by the Catholic Diocese of Fargo.

Hunter has been arrested and booked at the Cass County Jail and is charged in both murders.
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