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Hector, Minn., man gets stayed prison time for throwing wrench at boy

OLIVIA -- A 31-year-old Hector man was sentenced Tuesday to 21 months in prison, which was stayed, 90 days in jail, a $500 fine and seven years of probation on a second-degree assault charge for throwing a wrench at a then 7-year-old boy in June, striking the boy in the head and causing severe, potentially life-threatening injuries.

Dean Michael Lentz was also ordered to submit to an anger management assessment and follow the recommendations of the assessment as part of his sentence handed down by District Judge Randall Slieter in Renville County District Court.

According to Laurence Stratton, assistant county attorney who prosecuted the case, the state had asked for a 180-day jail sentence in the case.

Lentz pleaded guilty in November to the second-degree charge. As part of a plea agreement, a first-degree assault charge was dismissed.

The charges were filed after June 9 when the boy was treated at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis for a skull fracture, cerebral spinal fluid leak and multiple facial fractures. The injuries required immediate neurosurgical intervention, according to the doctor's notes referenced in the complaint.

The investigation by the Renville County Sheriff's Office began June 10, one day after the incident, when an anonymous caller reported that Lentz threw a wrench at the boy because he was mad at the child, who was hospitalized at HCMC.

The investigating officers confirmed that the child was at the medical facility and learned from the medical staff that the boy's parents reported they thought he had fallen off a bicycle. The medical staff reported the injuries were not consistent with such a fall.

A relative of the boy told investigators that he was at Lentz's residence working on cars and that the boy was in an outbuilding with Lentz. The relative said the boy was crying, that he didn't know what happened to the boy, and was eventually taken to the emergency room at the Hutchinson Hospital.

A search warrant was served on Lentz's residence on June 12, with officers locating tools near where the injury occurred.

Lentz gave a statement to Sheriff Scott Hable on June 13 that included that the boy was not listening to his requests and that he told the child that if he did not stop spitting on the doorway of the shop, Lentz would throw a ratchet at him.

Lentz admitted to intentionally throwing a ratchet at the boy, but that he did not intend to hit the child. Rather, he thought the two-pound tool would land in front of or fly past the boy instead of hitting him in the head. Lentz used photographs taken during the search warrant to identify the ratcheting wrench he had thrown at the boy.