Weather Forecast


County appealing second dismissal in 2013 death

BY Sarah smith

The Hubbard County Attorney’s Office is launching a last-ditch effort to appeal pornography charges in a murder case that was dismissed last year.

Now, the child pornography charges have been dropped against Frederick William Bachman by Hubbard County District Judge Paul Rasmussen, who ruled last month that officers did not have sufficient evidence to search or seize Bachman’s computer, which allegedly contained pornographic files.

That dismissal is being set aside in abeyance of the appeal.

The Bachman case has been a particularly difficult one for the local prosecutor’s office. Bachman, 27, and a former Laporte resident, was charged in the death of Lake Hattie resort owner James Schwartzbauer, 57, in the spring of 2013 at the resort.

Schwartzbauer’s body was found May 31 in the burned rubble of the Lake Hattie home, which he was converting to a religious retreat. Because a final cause of death could not be determined by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office, County Attorney Don Dearstyne had to dismiss a charge of Second Degree Murder.

Bachman lived on and off at the resort until he bailed out of jail after the murder charge was dismissed. He is living in the Twin Cities area.

Seven pornography charges were subsequently filed, alleging Bachman possessed child pornography on computer discs from around 2009 and 2010 until his arrest in 2013.

At that time he was living on and off with Schwartzbauer. His attorney claims it is not possible to determine if the files were Bachman’s or Schwartzbauer’s, a claim the deceased man’s friends and family deny.

Hubbard County Attorney Don Dearstyne has 15 days to submit his brief in opposition of the dismissal.

He declined to comment specifically on the case, but said computer privacy comes up often. The ruling might provide some guidance on computer cases and how officers and attorneys should draft search warrants seeking computerized information, not only from computers but cell phones and other technology, he said.

The computer in this case belonged to Bachman but Schwartzbauer did have access to it.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

(218) 732-3364