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Man Charged With Murder In Watertown Beating

March 31, 2011, 5:53 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Man Charged With Murder In Watertown Beating
WATERTOWN, SD - An early morning bar fight in Watertown two weeks ago has resulted in a murder investigation.

A mixed martial arts instructor is accused of beating 26-year-old Justin Jaton outside a Watertown bar. Jaton, who was hospitalized in Sioux Falls, died Thursday morning.

28-year-old Jerrin Stulken is now facing murder and manslaughter charges. Court documents say Stulken hit Jaton in the face on March 13 and knocked him unconscious. Investigators say Stulken continued to hit Jaton. Even after two surgeries, Jaton never regained consciousness and died Thursday morning.

"There's nobody that's going to win in this deal. It's just a good example of why not to get involved in those bar fights and how quickly they can turn bad and how serious the consequences are going to come of it," Watertown Police Sergeant Tim Toomey said.

Stulken is listed as a trainer on the Disciples of Combat Facebook page. It's a mixed martial arts group in Watertown. Stulken is identified in pictures taking part in one of their workouts.

Now Stulken is charged with murder because investigators say he beat Jaton so badly that the 26-year-old man died. A death police say could have been prevented.

"Violence is never the answer and that one punch will change the rest of your life and it's better to walk away from that," Toomey said.

Stulken was charged with aggravated assault after the initial fight two weeks ago. He's been out on bail since then, but was arrested Thursday morning and is now being held on a half-million dollar bond.

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