Fairfax Man Charged with Attempted Murder

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(KWLM/Olivia MN-) A Fairfax man is charged with Attempted First Degree Murder for shooting a man he accused of trying to break-up his marriage.

Sixty-year-old Michael Klatt made his first appearance in Renville County District Court in Olivia this morning (Tuesday) on 1 Count of Attempted First Degree Murder, 1 Count of 1st Degree Assault Causing Great Bodily Harm and 1 Count of 2nd Degree Assault with a Dangerous Weapon.

According to the criminal complaint, On January 7th, Klatt’s wife told him she didn’t love him and left to spend the night at their daughter’s house. The next day Klatt brought his car in to Weis Oil/Smart Mart in Fairfax for an oil change. His wife works there, and Klatt accused one of her co-workers, 55-year-old Kenneth Eckstein of Hector, of encouraging her to leave Klatt, which Eckstein denied. Three days later, last Friday morning, Klatt showed up at Smart Mart with a 22 caliber rifle hidden in his pants leg, and when his wife arrived at work, he confronted her and Eckstein in the store. He tried to force them into her office but Eckstein tried to get the gun away from him, and the gun fired, with the bullet hitting Eckstein’s finger and then his face. Even though he was wounded, Eckstein took the gun from Klatt, threw him to the floor and struck him in the head until he was unconscious.

Eckstein was airlifted to North Memorial Hospital where they surgically repaired his finger, but the bullet remains lodged in the base of his skull and is inoperable.

In Court this morning, Klatt asked for and recieved a public defender.

Unconditional bail was set at 500,000 dollars and conditional bail was set at $200,000, with one of the conditions being that he stay away from any of the alleged victims.

A settlement conference and omnibus hearing were set for February 11th.

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