Owatonna murder suspect went back to scene to get smokes: Court docs

The man accused of murder in a 2023 shooting underneath an I-35 overpass in Owatonna admitted to returning to the scene on the night of the shooting to retrieve a pack of cigarettes, new court documents reveal.

The new details are included in a brief filed by the defense late Monday, arguing for the case to be dismissed.

The briefing from suspect Jason Horner's defense attorneys includes a narrative of the shooting, starting with the moments leading up to 25-year-old Sabrina Schnoor's death under the overpass through Horner's arrest.

In the court documents, the defense says Horner has claimed that Schnoor mistakenly shot herself while handling a gun.

Surveillance video shows the two former partners leaving a convenience store on the night of May 30, 2023.

Before the meetup, Schnoor had accepted a request from friends on the Life360 app, which allowed her friends to track her location. It was this app that ultimately led friends to the discovery of Schnoor's body underneath the overpass.

The new documents include Horner's version of events, with Horner claiming that Schnoor was carrying the gun that killed her. Surveillance video shows Horner holding a large case that attorneys said Horner later admitted contained the gun, as they walked from the store and ultimately towards the area of the overpass.

Defense attorneys wrote: "Ms. Schnoor picked up the gun along their walk on the railroad tracks and carried it with her. Mr. Horner stated she tripped a few times, so he carried the case for her for a while, but gave her back the gun case… Once they arrived under the bridge, they began arguing. Ms. Schnoor became frustrated and slammed the butt of the gun on the sloped embankment and the gun went off."

Horner never called 911 after Schnoor was shot. Attorneys write that he panicked and ran from the scene, worried he'd be blamed for Schnoor's death.

MnDOT traffic camera videos show Horner walking away from the overpass, but then later returning to the scene.

Why did he go back? His attorneys write: "When questioned about it, Horner admitted he did return to the overpass shortly after leaving that night to recover some cigarettes he left behind."

According to the criminal complaint, a medical examiner found that Schnoor died from an intraoral gunshot wound that went through the spinal cord. But, the medical examiner also found Schnoor had suffered a skull fracture and hematoma before she was shot.

In the briefing, Horner's attorneys argued the case should be dismissed due to a lack of probable cause. They are also arguing against the use of several pieces of evidence in the case.