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The Bemidji Fire Department responded to a fire May 31 in Lake Hattie Township.

Laporte man charged in homicide; bail set at $1 million

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     Fredrick William Bachman, 26, is charged with the murder of James Schwartzbauer, 57, either May 30 or 31 at the Lake Hattie home the men shared.

     Firefighters were called to the residence at 5:30 a.m. May 31 and the home was fully engulfed. The complaint states Bachman was at the scene and said there may have been someone inside the burning home.

     Bachman allegedly told numerous conflicting stories about how he tried to put the fire out. Bachman was arrested Wednesday in St. Paul after investigators surmised his clothing at the scene did not smell of smoke and that he was able to rescue numerous personal possessions and move three cars before firefighters arrived on the scene.

     Judge Robert Tiffany set bail at $1 million unconditional, $600,000 conditional with numerous conditions.

     According to the complaint the two had been roommates the past four years. Schwartzbauer is listed as the homeowner.

     Bachman faces a single count of Second Degree murder, which carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison upon conviction.

     Bachman was represented by Minneapolis attorney Tracy Eichhorn-Hicks. His next appearance is set for June 25 in Hubbard County District Court.

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Sarah Smith
Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.
(218) 732-3364
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