Kristofer Erlbacher sentenced to life for killing Caleb Solberg during dispute over mayonnaise. Ran over friend with truck three times.
It must have been delicious. An Iowa man convicted of killing a friend with a truck was on Monday sentenced to life in prison according to reports.
Kristofer Erlbacher, 29, of Woodbine hit and killed Caleb Solberg, 30, of Moorhead, on Dec. 17, 2020. The incident led to Erlbacher being convicted of first-degree murder in a bench trial Dec. 10 the Des Moines Register reported.
On Dec. 17, 2020, Solberg, Erlbacher and a third person were at a bar in Moorhead drinking and eating. At some point, Erlbacher put mayonnaise on Solberg’s food. An irritated Solberg responded by punching Erlbacher.
That’s when a brawl ensued.
‘It was just another bar fight in Harrison County,’ until it wasn’t any longer,’ said Solberg’s half-brother Craig Pryor during the trial.
Called victim’s half brother to warn him
Erlbacher and the third person then drove about 10 minutes to a café in Pisgah, a town of about 240 people. During the car ride Erlbacher called Pryor twice, threatened to shoot Solberg with his shotgun and threatened Pryor.
The third person then met Pryor and warned him about Erlbacher, who was inside, according to the complaint. Solberg arrived at the café and spoke with Pryor before a fight broke out between Solberg and the other person.
Erlbacher left after that fight ended and used his 2001 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck to hit Pryor’s vehicle while Pryor was inside it. When Pryor got out to assess the damage, Erlbacher rammed Pryor and Pryor’s vehicle.
Around 10 p.m. Erlbacher fatally struck Solberg with his pickup truck outside Dave’s Old Home.
The first blow did not kill him. It was the second blow that killed him according to the verdict.
After hitting his victim, Erlbacher went down a street, turned around, came back and struck Solberg a second time. Erlbacher drove over Solberg one last time to be sure he killed Solberg, according to the verdict.
Erlbacher’s vehicle broke down. So he called his father for assistance. He also called Pryor to tell him he killed his brother the Woodbine Twiner-Herald reported.
Erlbacher claimed he acted in a reckless manner and did not intentionally kill Solberg. In an attempt to reduce the charge to second degree murder, which carries a 50-year sentence instead of life in prison, Erlbacher argued he was intoxicated.
‘Even if Erlbacher is under the influence of alcohol, he is responsible for his acts if he had sufficient mental capacity to form the specific intent necessary,’ presiding Judge Greg Steensland wrote. ‘Intoxication is a defense, only when it causes a mental disability which makes a person incapable of forming specific intent.’
Erlbacher also claimed he was justified in using deadly force to defend himself.
‘The evidence in this case shows that Erlbacher was in no imminent danger that necessitated the use of deadly force against Solberg,’ Steensland wrote. ‘The evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt that Erlbacher acted without justification.’