And just when I thought Cartoon County was the worst at letting shitbags walk. Shame on me.

Jail, 20 years of probation for Sturgeon Lake woman who shot boyfriend
By Tom Olsen Today at 7:31 p.m.


A Pine County woman has avoided prison after admitting to shooting her boyfriend, but she’ll spend the next two decades under the watch of authorities.

Karen Lynn Eaton, 39, pleaded guilty in September to a first-degree assault charge in the August 2014 shooting of Dan Scott, who suffered two gunshot wounds to the chest in the couple’s rural Sturgeon Lake home.

Eaton was placed on 20 years of probation at her sentencing Tuesday in State District Court in Pine City. Judge James T. Reuter stayed a seven-year prison sentence, but ordered Eaton to spend a year in the Pine County Jail as a term of her probation.

A first-degree assault conviction generally carries a guideline sentence of about six to nine years for someone with no criminal history. However, defense attorneys argued for a substantially lesser sentence, citing a history of domestic abuse against Eaton that precipitated the shooting.

The shooting, which authorities said happened near the couple’s 5-year-old son, left Scott with a bullet lodged in his spine and a lacerated kidney, according to court records.

Law enforcement was dispatched to their home, 23285 Farm to Market Road, on the report of a shooting on Aug. 19, 2014. Deputies reported that they found Scott, in apparent severe pain, lying in a recliner.

Police said Scott initially claimed that he had accidentally shot himself twice while cleaning the gun, but authorities doubted the story.

After being airlifted to a Duluth hospital for treatment, Scott finally acknowledged he had been shot by Eaton, according to documents. He reported they were engaged in an ongoing argument when she shot him with the pistol. He said he began crawling toward the door to find their son, who was outside, when he was shot again.

Eaton later confirmed to an investigator that she and Scott had been arguing throughout the day, according to the criminal complaint. She stated that the argument became physical and she went to the doctor because she believed her ribs were broken.

When she returned, the argument resumed and Scott began choking her on the ground, she said. Eaton claimed that she went to her truck and retrieved the pistol, shooting him twice as he approached her in a threatening manner, according to the complaint.

Investigators disputed her account, noting that it appeared the shots probably were fired a significant distance apart and at separate times from different locations.

The report indicated that Scott’s wounds were not accompanied by any charring or black coloring from powder burns. The spent shell casings were located a “significant distance” apart on the floor. The weapon, a.380-caliber handgun, was found on top of a microwave in another room.

As part of a plea agreement, the Pine County Attorney’s Office dismissed four other felony charges against Eaton: attempted premeditated first-degree murder, attempted intentional second-degree murder and two counts of second-degree assault.

Under the terms of her probation, Eaton is not allowed to possess firearms or have unapproved contact with Scott.

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