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The January 5th, an Elko New Market homicide was preceded by an argument over alleged animal abuse, according to the criminal complaint filed in Scott County.

24-year-old Cesar Jeff Cervantes-Montoya of Elko-New Market was charged with 2nd-degree murder in Scott County Court last week after confessing to law enforcement who arrived to investigate a report of an assault.

Cesar Jeff Cervantes-Montoya (Scott County Jail)
Cesar Jeff Cervantes-Montoya (Scott County Jail)
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*Disclaimer: Some readers of this story may find some of the details to be disturbing.

Cervantes-Montoya called authorities at 8:35 on January 5th to report an assault after getting into an argument with his landlord over the alleged animal abuse of Cervantes-Montoya's dog. Cervantes-Montoya told law enforcement that during the argument with his landlord he "grabbed a hammer" and "struck" the victim with it.

Cervantes-Montoya told police that he had lived in the basement of the 68-year-old victim for the past three years and alleged that the victim had "verbally abused him regarding landlord issues and made racial comments" towards Cervantes-Montoya.

The argument between the two men occurred, according to Cervantes-Montoya, after Cervantes-Montoya dropped his girlfriend off at work, and came home to the victim getting ready to change a lock on the door, per Cervantes-Montoya's request. Cervantes-Montoya told officers that he felt that this was a good time to "confront" the victim "about him hitting his dog."

Image Credit" Paul Shea/TSM
Image Credit" Paul Shea/TSM
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Once Cervantes-Montoya confronted the victim over the alleged animal abuse, the complaint stated that "things got heated" and Cervantes-Montoya "pushed the victim" as he believed that "this was the only way" the victim was going to "understand what he was saying." The victim denied ever hitting the dog, and "pushed" Cervantes-Montoya back.

It was at this time it's alledged in the criminal complaint that Cervantes-Montoya "grabbed the nearest object, which was a hammer" and hit the victim with it a "few times" and then "freaked out."

Cervantes-Montoya admitted to police to hitting the victim 2-3 times in the head with the hammer in an attempt to "knock him out."

After being hit in the head the victim fell to the ground unresponsive, and law enforcement found the victim at the bottom of a flight of stairs, face down, in the basement of the home.

Image Credit" Paul Shea/TSM
Image Credit" Paul Shea/TSM
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The next day, the Hennepin County Assistant Medical Examiner notified detectives with the Elko-New Market Police Department, that the autopsy confirmed the victim died as a result of homicide, but the cause of death ruled by the examiner was listed as strangulation, paired with multiple blunt force trauma to the head of the victim. The ME also told detectives that the victim suffered "multiple broken ribs; and located injuries consistent with defense wounds: a broken right pinky finger and abrasions on his right wrist and left forearm."

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