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Iowa killing over fight about mayo ends in life sentence

February 4, 2022 GMT

LOGAN, Iowa (AP) — A fatal hit-and-run that stemmed from a fight between acquaintances over mayonnaise has ended with a western Iowa man being sentenced to life in prison.

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Kristofer Erlbacher, 29, of Woodbine, was sentenced Monday to a mandatory life sentence after being convicted in December of first-degree murder in the 2020 killing of 30-year-old Caleb Solberg, of Moorhead, the Des Moines Register reported.

Investigators have said the men were eating and drinking at a Moorhead bar the night of Dec. 17, 2020, when Erlbacher put mayonnaise on Solberg’s food. A fist fight between the two men ensued, and Erlbacher left in his truck, making threats to hurt Solberg and others. The threats included calls to Solberg’s half-brother, Craig Pryor, whom he later confronted and whose vehicle he rammed with his truck.

Prosecutors say later that night, Erlbacher spotted Solberg outside a café in nearby Pisgah and ran him down with his truck. He doubled back and ran over Solberg twice more to make sure Solberg was dead, officials said, and called Pryor to say he had just killed his brother.

Erlbacher unsuccessfully sought to reduce the charge to second-degree murder, arguing he acted recklessly because he was drunk and didn’t intend to kill Solberg.

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This story was first published Feb. 3. It was updated on Feb. 4 to reflect that Erlbacher and Solberg were not friends, but were rather acquaintances.