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Walker man sentenced for causing death of pregnant girlfriend

WALKER - LC Wesley Armstrong, 25, of Walker, was sentenced Feb. 3 in Cass County District Court to six months in jail for felony second-degree manslaughter in connection with the Aug. 1 motor vehicle death of LaToya Burks at Backus.

Judge John P. Smith gave Armstrong credit for 128 days already served, ordered him to pay $207 costs and $20,989.71 restitution and placed him on 10 years probation. He stayed imposition of a prison sentence on the condition Armstrong meet all terms of his probation.

Armstrong pleaded guilty to the manslaughter charge Oct. 15, then unsuccessfully filed a motion to withdraw the plea.

Smith dismissed one count of felony third-degree murder and two counts of felony criminal vehicular homicide Feb. 3 when he convicted Armstrong of the manslaughter count.

Armstrong was driving a sport utility vehicle north on State Highway 371 just south of Backus. His girlfriend, Burks, who reportedly was nine months pregnant, was a front seat passenger in the vehicle. Her five-year-old daughter was riding in a rear seat.

The vehicle left the road, crashed into grove of pine trees and came to rest on its left side. Armstrong and Burks' daughter were transported to St. Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd.

Burks and her unborn child did not survive the crash.

Armstrong reportedly admitted he and Burks were arguing about money issues. He said Burks had grabbed the steering wheel, causing him to lose control of the vehicle.

Burks' daughter reportedly told authorities her mother and Armstrong were arguing and that he took his hands off the wheel, grabbed her mother and pulled off a wig she was wearing, then threw it in the back seat. She said Armstrong lost control of the vehicle when he grabbed for her mother.

Smith also sentenced Armstrong Feb. 3 for felony first-degree burglary of an occupied dwelling, on a separate case, to serve six months in jail consecutively, with credit for 124 days already served. Ten years probation will be concurrent.

The judge stayed execution of a 48-month prison sentence on the burglary count on the condition Armstrong meet all terms of his probation.

Felony kidnapping and terroristic threats and one misdemeanor count of fifth-degree assault were dismissed upon his conviction for burglary.

Armstrong kicked open the door of a Remer house Sept. 5. People inside the house told officers he threatened them, according to the court complaint.