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Austin man facing attempted murder trial takes a plea deal

Will be sentenced for arson and criminal sexual conduct.

Posted: Jan 29, 2020 4:34 PM

AUSTIN, Minn. – A Mower County man accused of groping a child and setting fire to a home with people inside is pleading guilty.

James Edward Slavan, 63 of Austin, entered guilty pleas Wednesday to 2nd degree criminal sexual conduct and 1st degree arson. Four counts of 1st degree attempted murder and one count of failure to register as a predatory offender will likely be dismissed when Slavan is sentenced.


Susan Anderson

He was first arrested in July 2018 after a woman told Austin police that Slavan put his hand under her daughter’s shirt and tried to kiss her. Authorities say the victim was under 13 years old.

Slavan was arrested again in August 2019 after he set fire to a home in the 1200 block of 3rd Avenue NW in Austin. Law enforcement says there were two people in the home at the time and one of them told investigators that Slavan, their landlord, had drunkenly threatened to burn the house down a week earlier and had been harassing them moments before the fire started.

Slavan is scheduled to be sentenced on June 19.

His girlfriend is still pleading not guilty to two counts of 1st degree burglary, 5th degree assault, and obstructing the legal process. Authorities say Susan Marie Anderson, 53 of Austin, attacked a man in July 2019 at the same home Slavan tried to burn down a month later. Investigators say she kicked in the victim’s door around 1:30 am and started hitting him. Police say Anderson told them she wanted to kill the victim.

No trial date has been set for Anderson.

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