Runde Acquitted

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Anthony Runde awaits the verdict Thursday afternoon.

 

Dubuque man found 

not guilty of attempted homicide

By Ted Pennekamp

 

A 36-year-old Dubuque man was found not guilty Thursday afternoon in Crawford County Circuit Court of attempted first degree intentional homicide regarding the severe beating of another Dubuque man at the Rock on the River music festival in Bridgeport in July of 2013. Anthony Runde was also found not guilty of aggravated battery with intent to cause great bodily harm.

Runde had faced up to 40 years in prison followed by 20 years of extended supervision on the attempted homicide charge. He had faced up to 10 years in prison to be followed by five years of extended supervision and a $50,000 fine if convicted of the aggravated battery charge.

Following a three-day trial, the jury came back with its verdict after about an hour of deliberations Thursday afternoon. 

In his closing statement, Assistant Attorney General Christopher Liegel said that the evidence showed that Runde ambushed Joshua Milligan, now 32, near the port-a-potties on the festival grounds and beat Milligan severely. 

“He ambushed him when he was vulnerable, alone, drunk and probably on drugs,” said Liegel. “It was a cowardly act.” Liegel went on to say that Milligan, who was 5-0 as a mixed martial arts fighter, would have beaten Runde under other circumstances. But, even given Milligan’s state that night, Runde would not emerge from the fight unscathed, said Liegel, who noted that it is very implausible that Runde would have no marks, scrapes, cuts, or bruises, if Milligan had jumped out and been the one to punch Runde, as Runde had claimed on the witness stand earlier Thursday.

Runde had claimed self defense, and said that he had tried to use a port-a-potty that happened to be occupied by Milligan who then came out and punched and tackled Runde. Runde said he punched Milligan two or three times in an effort to defend himself and get out of the area.

Liegel told jurors that Runde would have had a bruise if Milligan, a trained fighter, had punched him, and that Runde would also have had scrapes and possibly cuts if the two had been rolling around on the ground which was strewn with sharp gravel in that area. Yet, the evidence showed that Runde had no marks whatsoever, Liegel said.

Defense attorney David Stegall, in his closing statement, countered that because of Milligan’s extreme intoxication, he would not have been able to punch like he normally would and that would account for why Runde had no marks. 

Evidence showed that Milligan had a blood alcohol content of .29 and had also ingested meth, marijuana and cocaine, Stegall said.

Stegall also said that Runde had testified that his friend, Injun Chong, of East Dubuque, Ill., had come out of another port-a-potty, saw what was going on and kicked Milligan in the head while he was on top of Runde. Stegall said that Milligan’s brain injury could have come from several blows or just one blow, according to a doctor who had testified earlier in the trial.

In his closing statement, Stegall called Chong a liar for having testified that he saw Runde rolling on the ground with someone but that he (Chong) did not kick the person in head and just walked away not knowing who Runde was fighting with.

Stegall also told jurors that another witness, Benjamin Meier, 40, of East Dubuque, also lied on the stand when Meier said he saw Runde on top of someone on the night of the assault. Stegall said Meier couldn’t have seen the incident because it was very dark out that night and Meier had exited a port-a-potty that was 100 yards away. Also, Meier’s port-a-potty was facing the opposite direction.

Stegall told jurors that neither Runde nor Milligan knew that each other was going to be at the festival. Also, why would Runde intend to kill someone at a festival where there are thousands of potential witnesses?, Stegall asked. In addition, Stegall noted that Runde stayed on the festival grounds after the altercation.

“You are stuck with deciding this case based on the testimony of two liars,” said Stegall to the jury. Stegall also told the jury that it must disprove self defense beyond a reasonable doubt. Stegall told the jury that they should not decide the case based upon emotions.

In his rebuttal, Liegel called Runde a liar. 

Runde should be found not guilty, “only if you believe Anthony Runde,” said Liegel. “And, there is every reason to believe Anthony Runde made up a story. It’s all bunk.”

Liegel also told the jury, “You are to search for the truth.”

Witnesses had testified earlier in the trial that Runde and Milligan had once been friends but Milligan had an affair with Runde’s wife while she and Runde were separated.

At the festival on July 13, 2013, Milligan was found unconscious on the ground in the port-a-potty area. There was a puddle of blood near his head.

Milligan requires assistance to walk with both a walker and a person to hold on to a gait belt. He has impairment to his vision, sense of smell, lacks the ability to sense hot and cold, is incontinent, and suffers from significant cognitive impairment.

On Sept. 14, 2016, the Dubuque Police Department apprehended Runde. Runde was later transported to the Crawford County Jail.

After the verdict was read Thursday afternoon, Milligan’s mother, Sue Milligan, began to sob as family and friends comforted her.

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