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Brother Says MMA Trainer 'Not A Monster'

March 31, 2011, 9:59 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Brother Says MMA Trainer 'Not A Monster'
WATERTOWN, SD - What Watertown police say started as a fight ended tragically. 

26-year-old Justin Jaton died in a Sioux Falls hospital Thursday after being knocked unconscious more than two weeks ago. 

Police say Jaton was hit in the face by 28-year-old Jerrin Stulken in a parking lot near several bars in downtown Watertown.

It happened at 3:30 a.m. on March 13. Court documents say Jaton was knocked out after the first blow, but Stulken continued to hit him.

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

Stulken was arrested and charged Thursday with alternate counts of murder and manslaughter. 

Stulken was a trainer for a mixed martial arts group in Watertown, but his brother told KELOLAND News that Stulken's background had nothing to do with this incident.

Jerrin's brother, Jeremy Stulken, is also listed as a trainer for the mixed martial arts organization Disciples of Combat on the group's Facebook page.

Jeremy told KELOLAND News in a phone conversation that this was 'a tragic accident.' He went on to say that the deadly downtown fight his brother, Jerrin, was involved in is not connected to his training in mixed martial arts.

"It could have happened to any two people downtown," Jeremy Stulken said. " The human body is a very sensitive thing."

Court documents say that Jerrin Stulken not only knocked Justin Jaton unconcious but continued to hit him repeatedly after he was unconcious.

Jeremy Stulken called it a 'reaction' and a 'very very tragic situation.'

"My brother is a good person," Jeremy Stulken said in defense of his brother. "My brother is not a monster like everyone is making him out to be."

But now his brother is sitting in the Codington County Jail on a half million dollar bond and facing murder and manslaughter charges after police say he threw several deadly punches in a downtown parking lot.

Court documents say despite two surgeries, Jaton never regained consciousness after he was hit by Stulken.

He died Thursday morning in Sioux Falls.

After KELOLAND News ran a story about this case at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jerrin Stulken's name and pictures were removed from the Disciples of Combat Facebook page.

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