Minnesota murder convict, who went on the run before verdict, sentenced

The Bloomington man who walked out of court before the verdict could be read in his murder trial over a fatal overdose was finally sentenced on Thursday.

Michael Harlan was found guilty in absentia in 2023 in the overdose death of 29-year-old Cole Linnell. Linnell died after Harlan sold him fentanyl pills that police said were sold under the pretense of being Oxycodone.

Harlan was charged and faced trial in the death. However, before the judge could read the guilty verdict, Harlan had sneaked out of the courtroom after asking to use the bathroom. Harlan remained on the run for months before he was arrested in Wayne County, Michigan, in November 2023.

In court, Harlan apologized for his role in Linnell's death.

"I know [my apology] ain't going to bring Cole back or make his family feel any better," Harlan said. "I just want to apologize, that's really all I can say."

Prosecutors argued for a stiffer sentence for Harlan, saying Harlan had failed to get his life in order after a previous drug conviction and may have continued dealing drugs up until the point he was arrested for Linnell's death.

Linnell's family issued passionate victim impact statements in court.

Ultimately, the judge handed down a 10-year sentence for Harlan.