At long last, it appears that authorities can close the book on a 2009 attack in Burnsville that left one woman dead and her roommate injured. Friday, Taylor James Pass, a 21-year-old Eagan resident, pleaded guilty to attempted murder in the second degree.
The charge stems from an assault that occurred in a Burnsville townhome on April 7, 2009. That night, 35-year-old Tina SanRoman suffered a single stab wound to the chest. She later died from her injuries. Her roommate, then 23, sustained superficial knife wounds to his throat and back. Pass was charged with two counts of second degree murder for the death of SanRoman and multiple counts of attempted murder and felony assault on the other man.
According to a previous report in the Star Tribune, during the trial in fall of 2009 the defense argued that the roommate could in fact have been responsible for the stabbing of SanRoman, and that he lashed out at Pass, who walked in on the scene. Defense Attorney Arlene Perkkio suggested that the roommate was injured in the ensuing struggle.
After 14 hours of deliberation, the jury found Pass not guilty of murdering SanRoman, but was deadlocked with respect to the assault on SanRoman's roommate.
The prosecution moved for a retrial for the attempted murder San Roman's roommate, but Judge Patrice Sutherland ruled that the case could not be presented to a jury without evidence regarding the murder of SanRoman, for which Pass had been acquitted. Sutherland argued that such evidence would be prejudicial to the defendant, and dismissed the remaining charges.
The Dakota County Attorney's Office appealed, and in June 2013 the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed Sutherland’s ruling. The Supreme Court's decision opened up the possibility of a new trial for the attempted murder of SanRoman's roommate, referred to only as OAR by the county attorney's office.
On Aug. 16, Pass entered a guilty plea. Sutherland stayed a sentence of 153 months in prison. She imposed zero to 20 years of probation on Pass, as well as 240 days in jail, with credit for time already served.