Bail was set at $1 million without conditions and $750,000 with conditions Friday as Cody Freitag made his first appearance for felony charges before Judge Kevin Miller in Seventh District Court.
The 30-year-old Barrett resident was transported to Sanford Health for treatment Oct. 2 after fleeing two undercover Otter Tail County deputies in a 2007 Chrysler Town and Country van in Fergus Falls and crashing into a 2007 Toyota Camry, killing Steve and Diane Christianson of Fergus Falls.
Law enforcement told Daily Journal Media Thursday that Freitag was being held in the Cass County Jail in Fargo following treatment at Sanford Health. According to Otter Tail County Attorney Michelle Eldien, the defendant waived his right to an extradition hearing and was transported to Otter Tail County for his first appearance.
Charges were filed in Seventh District Court Wednesday after investigative work was carried out by the Minnesota State Patrol and the Fergus Falls Police Department. Freitag was charged with two counts of causing a homicide while fleeing a peace officer and two counts of criminal vehicular homicide.
In addition to the homicide charges, Freitag has prior charges pending including felony theft and third-degree controlled drug sales in Otter Tail County, fleeing on foot and obstruction of the legal process in Hennepin County, and fleeing a peace officer in Grant County.
Eldien expects all previous outstanding charges against Freitag to be remanded to track with the Oct. 7 homicide charges. A conviction of causing a homicide while fleeing a peace officer is punishable by imprisonment of up to 40 years and is equal to second-degree murder according to Eldien. A criminal vehicular homicide conviction can result in a 10-year prison sentence.
“He is looking at significant time,” Eldien said Friday.
Freitag was assigned counsel by the court Friday and an omnibus hearing was set for Nov. 24. Investigative work by the State Patrol and the Fergus Falls Police Department are expected with an administrative investigation to follow.
Freitag has been assigned supervised parole for two separate offenses in the past by the Seventh District Court.
On Sept.10, 2017, court records show that Freitag was convicted of third-degree drug sales. He received a 20-year stay on a 33-month sentence at the Minnesota Departments of Corrections — St. Cloud. Instead he received 180 days in jail and was assigned 20 years of supervised probation.
Freitag was convicted of a felony Sept. 24, 2018, for the theft of movable property. He received a five-year stay of a 17-month prison sentence and instead was sentenced to 180 days in the Otter Tail County Jail and five years of supervised probation.
Freitag has been a defendant in 12 Seventh District Court cases since 2009.
Grant County has had a warrant out for Freitag since July 11, 2019, for fleeing a peace officer. The maximum sentence for the offense is not more than three years and one day or a fine of up to $5,000.
According to Grant County court records, two deputies attempted to locate Freitag in Wendell on July 9. They followed a van leaving the home of a female Freitag was known to associate with and attempted to make a traffic stop. The van refused to stop for the deputies despite emergency lights and sirens.
The van continued down a muddy maintenance road until it entered a gravel pit that came to a dead end. One of the two men deputies ordered to exit from the van was Freitag, who denied being the driver of the vehicle despite evidence to the contrary.