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Jury selection continues in Crookston manslaughter trial

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CROOKSTON—Jury selection continued through a second day for the trial of a man accused of the fatal beating of another man outside a Crookston bar on Christmas Day one year ago.

Brock Dale Strommen, 29, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree manslaughter charges stemming from an assault outside Captain Crooks bar on Christmas Day 2015 that led to the death of 36-year-old John Henry Torres. Torres suffered a fractured skull and internal bleeding from his injuries, and died Jan. 1, 2016, at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks.

Strommen was not charged in the incident until March, when a grand jury indicted him on charges of first-degree manslaughter, a felony, and fifth-degree assault and disorderly conduct.

If convicted, Strommen could serve up to 15 years in prison.

Judge Tamara L. Yon told the courtroom Tuesday that she wanted to finish jury selection by the end of the day, with the goal of beginning opening arguments Wednesday. Yon, defense attorney Kerry Rosenquist and Polk County attorney Gary Widseth questioned 22 jurors out of a pool of 53 Monday and Tuesday, working their way toward a 12-person jury with an alternate.

At least one potential juror was excused from the trial Tuesday.

Yon said she expects the trial to run through Friday.

Strommen was released on bail after being charged, under conditions he stay out of bars, not drink alcohol and break no laws. But that didn't happen. He has been arrested twice since March.

On July 8, he was arrested in Red Lake Falls, Minn., after reports of a man "trying to start fights with people" at TNJ's Bar and Grill, according to a report. Strommen had a blood-alcohol level of 0.278, more than triple the legal limit, a Red Lake County Sheriff's deputy reported.

Strommen did not face charges in the July arrest, and following it, Judge Anne Rasmusson ordered he could be released without condition if he posted a $40,000 bond or paid $4,000 bail and agreed to follow certain conditions similar to the previous ones set for him.

Later that month, on July 31, Strommen was arrested in Crookston on second-degree drunk driving charges. He has remained in custody on a $100,000 bond.