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Man will serve over 12 years for Audubon murder

A Fergus Falls man has pleaded guilty to shooting and killing a friend that was staying with him at his mother's house in Audubon on Nov. 13.

Michaelray Ericthomas Mason, 29, pleaded guilty Jan. 29 in Becker County District Court to felony second-degree murder - without intent.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Mason will serve 150 months in state prison, pay restitution as claimed by the victim's family, and pay a $50 fine and $80 in court fees. The name of the victim was not released in court documents.

According to court records, the shooting occurred shortly before 5 p.m. on Nov. 13. Mason called 911 at 4:41 p.m. and told the dispatcher "I just shot him," and that he "put six rounds into him."

Mason told the dispatcher where he was in Audubon, and the Audubon police chief arrived in minutes, spoke to Mason, and confirmed that the man he had shot was dead.

Mason was arrested and taken to the Becker County Jail, where he was later interviewed by a special agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and a sheriff's investigator.

Mason told them that he and the victim, a friend of his, had been staying at Mason's mother's home in Audubon for the past few days.

Mason and the other man had woken up in the early afternoon on the day of the shooting, had walked around to various points in town, and obtained some alcohol. They were both drinking, and by the time they got home, the friend was drunk and had become verbally combative with Mason. The two argued, Mason said, and at one point Mason went into a bedroom to get away from his friend, but the door did not lock.

Mason said the friend opened the door, entered the bedroom and "came at him."

Mason admitted to getting his mother's .38 caliber pistol from a box in the bedroom, aiming it at the friend and shooting him multiple times.

Mason repeatedly told the investigators that he "had no choice" and that the victim was "coming at him." Officers observed that Mason did not have any significant injuries to his person.

Mason said he had spoken to a known female on the phone and told her

"I didn't mean to kill him."

According to court records, on the day of the shooting, Mason told officers that his friend told him "I'm going to hurt you," and was coming at him with arms outstretched at the time Mason shot him.

Also on the day of the shooting, Mason told officers that he had immediately called 911 after the shooting.

But the next day, Mason told investigators that the first phone call he made after the shooting was actually to his girlfriend, and he had then called 911 about five minutes later.

The girlfriend was interviewed by an investigator and said that Mason had texted her about half an hour prior to the shooting and indicated he was "drunk," and then called her in a panic just before the shooting and told her "if he keeps coming at me, I'm going to have to shoot him."

She told investigators that Mason gets depressed when he drinks, is bipolar, and suffers from anxiety.

In 2009, Mason was convicted of disorderly conduct in a burglary attempt gone wrong.

Forum news archives indicate Mason tried robbing an Otter Tail County home when his burglary accomplice was shot by the homeowner.

Mason was found delinquent on a second-degree assault charge in 2004, when he was a juvenile, and was convicted of fifth-degree controlled substance crime in 2013 and is prohibited from possessing firearms. A felony firearms possession charge was dropped in the plea agreement.

At the plea hearing on Jan. 29, Becker County District Judge Jay Carlson ordered Mason remanded without bail and set a sentencing date of 10:45 a.m. on March 20.

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