A 17-year-old boy was arrested Monday in connection with the death of 20-year-old student Colton Gleason near the St. Cloud State University campus.
Jesse Jean Smithers, of Sauk Rapids, was charged with second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter and first-degree assault in juvenile court on Tuesday.
Prosecutors characterized the fatal punch as a tragic, unprovoked attack.
Police said Gleason was walking in an alley with two women at about 11:30 p.m. on Thursday night when a car carrying five to seven people passed them and parked. Several people soon got out, and one person delivered a fatal punch. Gleason's head hit the pavement after the punch, causing additional trauma.
The two women were not hurt, but they were only able to give vague descriptions of the suspects to police. Police declined to say where Gleason and his two friends had been that night or where they may have been going.
Gleason, of Greenfield, Minn., was studying business at Minnesota State University- Mankato. His father said he was an amazing young man who had lots of friends and was adored by his family.
"You know, we've lost our baby and we're all hurting because of that," John Gleason, the victim's father, told FOX 9 News outside the court room. "Right now, we need this to happen."
Gleason said although it was tough for him, he needed to see the person who killed his son.
"I'm going to be honest with you. This is a really hard thing," he said. "We know we need to see the person who took our son's life -- and you know, right now, we're just numb."
The Stearns County attorney has filed a motion to have Smithers tried as an adult in the case, noting his significant court history. He is currently also awaiting sentencing for a previous assault.
"All we can do now is depend on the justice system itself to make this person pay for a senseless, coward's crime," Gleason said.
Police say Gleason and Smithers didn't know each other.
Gleason also thanked officers and for quickly making an arrest before leaving the court.
"First, we want to thank all the people who've given us their prayers and support and helped us through this time," he said. "We also want to thank law enforcement that actually moved so quickly at apprehending someone."
Gleason said knowing that someone is in custody lets them begin their process of healing, but he said they "know it's a long road."