Jacob Seelinger hears the verdict of the Winneshiek County jury (decorahnews.com file photo)
It's unusual for there to be murder trials connected to Decorah. But 2019 saw not one of them, but three--Brian Fullhart's murder trial in Cresco and the murder trials of Jacob Seelinger in Decorah and Dalton Adam in New Hampton.
Seelinger's trial and Adam's trial both involved the July 2018 beating of 47-year-old David Hansen of Freeport. Seelinger went on trial first, with the jury returning a "guilty" verdict to second degree murder (http://www.decorahnews.com/archived-stories/2019/07/22722.html
). In September, Judge Richard Stochl sentenced Seelinger to 50 years in prison.
Adam's trial came later, starting the end of September. A Chickasaw County jury returned a guilty verdict to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter (http://www.decorahnews.com/archived-stories/2019/11/23747.html
) Judge Stochl--who also presided over Adam's trial--then announced he would impose the maximum penalties allowed--five years for a charge of assault which occurred the same night as Hansen's beating and 10 years for the voluntary manslaughter charge, with the two sentences running back-to-back.
2019--the first year in decades in which three Decorah residents or former residents stood trial on first degree murder charges.