BUFFALO, Minn. (KMSP) - The family of Christopher Rossing is extremely upset with a plea deal for murder suspect Robert Nuttall. They’re also insulted that the deal was struck before they could get to the Wright County courthouse for Friday morning’s scheduled jury selection.
Nuttall, 29, was initially charged with kidnapping in Rossing's disappearance, but a grand jury eventually indicted the Hutchinson, Minn. man on first-degree murder charges. Friday, he entered a guilty plea to a lesser charge of second-degree unintentional murder.
Prosecutors said Rossing and Nuttall got into a fight outside a Howard Lake bar, and that Nuttall ended up killing Rossing and disposing of his body. When investigators searched Nuttall's home in Hutchinson, they found burnt bone fragments in an outdoor fire pit and scattered in a field across the street.
Under the terms of the plea deal, Nuttall Admitted to the assault that caused Rossing's death, and also admitted to concealing his body from Aug. 23 to Sept. 10. Nuttall did not admit to burning the body and didn’t reveal when Rossing died -- only that his death was the result of an assault after they left the bar in Howard Lake.
The admissions of guilt under the plea deal allowed for an upward departure in sentencing. Nuttall will be sentenced to 22 years in prison on Oct. 30.
Nuttall's girlfriend, Gwen Butcher, was with him the night Rossing disappeared. She is charged with aiding and abetting, as well as second-degree murder. Her trial is scheduled to begin in January.