July 1, 2018

A man charged with fatally striking a husband and wife in an Eagan parking lot last week told police they “freaked him out” so he deliberately drove “fast and hit them hard,” according to the criminal complaint.

Jonna Kojo Armartey, 36, formerly of Eagan, was charged Monday with two counts of second-degree murder after authorities say he intentionally struck Roger and Diane Peterson in a hit-and-run.

Armartey is being held in Dakota County Jail. Bail has been set at $2 million.

Jonna Kojo Armartey (Courtesy of Dakota County Sheriff’s Office)
Officers say surveillance video from a nearby business showed Armartey following Roger, 74, and Diane, 58, through the parking lot at 2020 Silver Bell Road where they were struck Thursday night. Armartey said in the complaint that the Petersons “freaked him out,” and he then drove “fast and hit them hard.”

 

“Whitey Freak Me Out! Aight?”

The couple was taking their nightly walk down Silver Bell Road, according to the criminal complaint, when they decided to cut through the parking lot.

Armartey and the Petersons did not know each other, according to the complaint.

Police who responded to the scene Thursday found the two struggling to breathe with injuries consistent with blunt force trauma.

They are pretty sure they got the right guy when the woman’s cell phone and part of her left ear were discovered under Armartey’s Van’s window wiper.

They were taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul where they were pronounced dead.

Armartey fled the scene, and police later found him at a hotel in Apple Valley, according to the complaint.

Police say they found a van matching witnesses’ description at a restaurant less than one mile away from the parking lot. Officers found Diane’s cellphone “wedged” under the windshield wiper on the van’s passenger side, according to the complaint.

Officials say Armartey was on probation for three other felony convictions, including vehicle theft, third-degree assault of a correctional officer and fourth-degree assault of a psychiatrist.