Stearns County Judge Sentences St. Cloud Man for Murder

Stearns County Judge Sentences St. Cloud Man for Murder
Stearns County Judge Sentences St. Cloud Man for Murder

ST. CLOUD (WJON News) — A St. Cloud man who pleaded guilty to murdering another St. Cloud man has learned his sentence.

A Stearns County judge has sentenced 44-year-old Alphonso Cotto to 22 years and nine months in prison. He gets credit for having served one year and 10 months in the county jail.

Cotto pleaded guilty to one count of 2nd-degree murder through an Alford Plea back in April. An Alford Plea is where a defendant maintains they’re innocent of the crime, but admits the prosecution has enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Cotto and another man, 54-year-old Paul Colemanwere charged with the shooting death of 39-year-old Michael Batsche.

St. Cloud Police were called to a home in the 1200 block of 10th Avenue South on May 24th, 2022. Officers arrived to find Batsche lying on the floor by the back door with a gunshot wound to his head.

According to the criminal complaint, footage from the home’s motion cameras showed the victim alone in the backyard before the shooting. Roughly ten minutes later the camera is activated again showing Coleman and Cotto near a detached garage facing the back door where the victim was found. Court records show Coleman could be seen holding what is believed to be a gun in his right hand. Coleman and Cotto are then seen running to a vehicle registered to Coleman.

Coleman pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting 2nd-degree murder at the beginning of March. As part of Coleman’s plea agreement, he’ll spend 16 years in prison when he is sentenced on May 23rd.

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