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Man Gets Life For Fatally Running Down Acquaintance After Mayonnaise-Based Argument

Kristofer Erlbacher will serve out the rest of his life behind bars for killing Caleb Solberg, with whom he got into a fight over mayonaise.

By Gina Tron

An Iowa man has been sentenced to life behind bars for repeatedly running over an acquaintance with his truck and killing him after a heated argument that stemmed from a squirt of mayonnaise.

Kristofer Erlbacher, 29, of Woodbine was sentenced to a mandatory life sentence on Monday for the 2020 murder of 30-year-old Caleb Solberg of Moorhead, the Des Moines Register reports.

He was convicted in December of first-degree murder for the incident, which began with the two drinking and eating at a bar with another person. After Erlbacher put mayonnaise on Solberg's meal, the two then got into a fistfight, Harrison County Judge Greg Steensland wrote in his verdict.

Erlbacher eventually left in his truck, but spotted Solberg outside a café in nearby Pisgah later that evening.

While driving from the bar to the cafe, Erlbacher had apparently called Solberg's brother, Craig Pryor, twice to threaten both brothers, and specifically declared that he’d like to shoot Solberg with his shotgun.

And then, still apparently fuming over their mayo fight, Erlbacher mowed Solberg down with his pickup truck. After running him down once, he left — and the first strike was not fatal.

But Erlbacher then decided to turn back to run over his pal again two more times. Erlbacher then called Pryor, Solberg’s brother, to inform him that he'd killed his sibling.

"'It was just another bar fight in Harrison County,' until it wasn’t any longer," Pryor said during the trial, according to the Register. 

Erlbacher had claimed that he did not intentionally kill Solberg and his lawyers attempted, unsuccessfully, to reduce the charge to second degree murder. He also tried to blame alcohol for his actions that night.

"Even if Erlbacher is under the influence of alcohol, he is responsible for his acts if he had sufficient mental capacity to form the specific intent necessary," Steensland wrote in his verdict. "Intoxication is a defense only when it causes a mental disability which makes a person incapable of forming specific intent."

He added that the “evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt that Erlbacher acted without justification."

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