The Minnesota Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of the man who hit and killed 8-year-old Alan Geisenkoetter Jr. with a snowmobile on a Chisago County lake.
Eric Coleman was convicted of several counts in 2018, including DWI, third-degree murder, and multiple counts of criminal vehicular homicide.
According to court documents, Coleman’s appeal was based on what he claimed was faulty jury instruction. He argued that the jury was told to weigh his guilt based on whether he acted in a reckless manner with the knowledge that someone may be killed.
The court of appeals did agree that the instruction was faulty, but it did not affect any of Coleman's rights. Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea wrote, "the evidence of Coleman’s guilt was 'overwhelming.' And even if the district court should have instructed the jury as Coleman argues, no reasonable jury could have concluded, on this record, that Coleman was not guilty."
Prior to the fatal crash, Coleman had a history of DWI's and license revocations. He also had a pending DWI charge at the time of the incident.
The crash inspired a new law, referred to as "Little Alan's Law," which closed a loophole allowing people with DWI's to operate boats and ATVs.
Coleman is currently serving a 12.5-year sentence at the Mooselake correctional facility.