A man who deliberately drove his vehicle into Diane and Roger Peterson killing them on June 28, 2018, in Eagan pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree intentional murder on Monday, according to Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom.
Jonna Kojo Armartey, 37, formerly of Eagan, said he didn’t know the couple but he did intend to run them over at the time because they “freaked him out.”
“We are pleased that Jonna Armartey has accepted responsibility for this senseless and violent crime that tragically killed two individuals in our community,” Backstrom said. “On behalf of everyone involved in the investigation and prosecution of this crime, I wish to extend our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Diane and Roger Peterson for their great loss.”
Officers were called to the scene at 10 a.m. June 28, 2018, to a parking lot of the Silver Bell Business center at 2020 Silver Bell Road where they found the Petersons injured and struggling to breathe. Both were transported to Regions Hospital where they later died.
Witnesses said the couple were struck by a silver van, which sped away.
Officers found the van in a restaurant's parking lot about a mile from the scene with front-end damage and a cracked windshield.
Diane Peterson’s cellphone was found wedged under the passenger side windshield wiper.
In an interview, Armartey said the Petersons “freaked him out” so he ran them over “going fast and hit them hard.”
A citizen’s tip led to Armartey’s arrest at a hotel in Apple Valley shortly after 5 a.m. June 29, 2018, Eagan Police Chief Roger New said last year.
Judge Shawn Moynihan has scheduled sentencing for Oct. 11.
Backstrom praised Assistant County Attorney Kathy Keena who prosecuted the case. He also thanked the Eagan Police Department, which investigated the case along with assistance from the Minnesota State Patrol and Dakota County Sheriff’s Office.
He also thanked the first responders for their assistance at the scene.