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2nd Blue Earth football player pleads guilty in brutal beating of teammate

July 24, 2018

The second of four Blue Earth football players charged in the brutal beating of a teammate has pleaded guilty to a felony assault charge.

Blake Barnett, 18, entered a guilty plea Monday in Martin County District Court to a charge of third-degree assault, according to court documents. A second assault charge was dropped as part of a plea agreement.

Barnett and three other Blue Earth Area High School football players were charged in the beating of a 16-year-old teammate after the teams final regular-season game in October. According to court testimony, the youths had been drinking when they attacked their teammate at a house party and filmed the attack on a cellphone.

They later showed the video to teammates and students, including the victim, who suffered a concussion and had to sit out the teams state playoff games.

As part of his plea agreement, Barnett agreed to complete up to 40 hours of community service and undergo an anger management assessment. He also must write the victim a letter of apology. Barnett is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 17.

Last month, 18-year-old Dalton Nagel pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting assault in the third degree and fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct. Nagel testified that the other players hit the victim because he was loud and they were afraid hed wake up the parents at the home where the party was being held. Nagel also admitted that he dropped his pants and rubbed his genitals on the victims face while he was unconscious.

The Hurley family said the incident made them targets in Blue Earth, a city of 3,400 residents about 120 miles southwest of the Twin Cities. The parents separated and the entire family moved to Nebraska.

In the days and weeks after the attack, which shocked many in Blue Earth, some residents and former students stepped forward with tales of their own about ongoing bullying at the school. The incident prompted the school board to organize a community task force to address bullying in the district.

Adding to the uproar, the alleged assailants werent immediately disciplined after the incident and were allowed to play in the teams two state playoff games. Eventually, they were suspended from school for 10 days and barred from playing sports.

The cases of two other players charged in the incident are still pending.

John Reinan 612-673-7402

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