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Orono man faces murder charges in crash that killed two men


The Orono man indicted in the crash that killed two young men, including the son of the University of Minnesota men’s hockey coach, was charged Thursday with two counts of murder in addition to four previous counts of negligence and impaired driving.

James D. Blue, 51, was charged by Hennepin County District Court with two counts of third degree murder in the deaths of Mack Motzko and Sam Schuneman, passengers in the Bentley that Blue allegedly drove up to 99 miles an hour before crashing in a wooded area.

Third degree murder is characterized as the commission of an eminently dangerous act and the manifestation of a depraved spirit. He carries a sentence of up to 25 years, which is more than double the 10-year sentence of other charges against Blue. Prosecutors have also already filed a notice with the court that they would seek a longer-than-normal sentence for Blue due to the nature of the alleged crime.

Previously, Blue was charged with two counts of driving a criminal vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater and manslaughter while driving a criminal vehicle for driving a vehicle. with gross negligence.

The crash happened on July 24 near Blue’s home in the 3100 block of North Shore Drive after Blue drank shots of alcohol and consumed THC candy, according to criminal charges. THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana.

Blue was briefly in jail before posting a $ 500,000 cash bond. He was released unconditionally. Blue’s attorney, Fred Bruno, declined to comment on the additional charges.

The updated charges also revealed that Motzko, 20, and Schuneman, 24, had met Blue less than an hour before the crash. The two young men were at a restaurant and were invited to Blue’s home by a mutual friend, the charges said.

Motzko, 20, is the son of trainer Bob Motzko. The charges indicated that Mack Motzko did not have alcohol in his blood. Schuneman had been drinking but was not driving that night, according to the charges.

Video evidence showed the Bentley first made its way to the defendant’s driveway before returning home and retreating onto North Shore Drive. The complaint stated that Blue had “attempted to show or impress the occupants with his vehicle.”

Before leaving in the car, Blue told the victims, “You have to live your life to the fullest because all of a sudden you blink and you’re 40 someday,” the new complaint said.

Previous interviews and the original criminal complaint said Ella Motzko, Mack’s older sister and Schuneman’s girlfriend, reported that the three attended a party at Blue’s house. Ella Motzko had urged the two men not to ride with Blue.

Previous accusations said tests revealed Blue’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.175% after the crash. The latest document stated that “the standard extrapolation” would indicate that his blood alcohol concentration was around 0.20% at the time of the crash and that tests found THC in Blue’s blood.

The investigation also found that the brakes had been used 2.5 seconds before the crash on a winding tree-lined road with many obscured driveways and speed limits of 35 and 45 miles per hour.

On July 24, police were called to the crash scene and found Blue’s Bentley in a wooded area topped by a tree.

Schuneman was strapped to the front passenger seat and died at the scene. Motzko was stuck in the seat behind the driver and was also wearing his seat belt. He later died of his injuries in hospital.

Blue was thrown from the car and found unconscious and lying in trees. He allegedly admitted his guilt and was taken to hospital.

Schuneman, who lived in Scottsdale, Arizona, was originally from Maple Grove and was visiting friends and family.

Blue will then appear in court on October 6 at 10:45 a.m. before Judge Regina Chu.

Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747

Twitter: @rochelleolson


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