Kristofer Erlbacher is behind bars for murdering his friend, Caleb Solberg, after they allegedly got into a fight over mayonnaise at a bar in Moorhead, Iowa.
On Dec. 17, 2020, Erlbacher, Solberg, and a third person were enjoying their night at a bar. They were eating and drinking when, suddenly, things took a turn for the worse.
According to the Des Mines Register, Erlbacher put mayonnaise in Solberg’s meal. The 30-year-old became angry and reportedly punched Erlbacher, of Woodbine, which led to a fistfight between the two friends.
Erlbacher, who was 29 years old at the time, left in his truck and drove 10 minutes to Dave’s Old Home Cafe in Pisgah, a small town with a population of 240.
During the drive, Erlbacher called Solberg’s half-brother twice and told him about the altercation. He then threatened him and Solberg.
According to court documents, Erlbacher said he was going to “set the house on fire and shoot Solberg with his Mossberg shotgun as he exited the house.”
When Solberg and his half-brother arrived at Dave’s Old Home Cafe, Solberg reportedly got into another fistfight, but this time, it was with Erlbacher’s friend.
After the fight ended, someone heard Erlbacher say, “I’ll take care of this” before he got in his truck and slammed into Solberg’s half-brother’s vehicle, who then drove off.
Just a short while later, Erlbacher was traveling on Main Street when he saw Solberg standing outside the bar. That’s when he hit him with his truck.
Solberg immediately began screaming in agony and calling out to his brother.
Erlbacher drove down the street but returned moments later. He ran him over a few more times before he fled the scene. Then he got on the phone with Solberg’s half-brother and told him what he had done.
Just as Erlbacher thought he was getting away, his truck started having mechanical issues before it became completely disabled. That’s when he called his father for help.
His dad arrived and drove him back to the crime scene, where deputies with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office were waiting.
Erlbacher was arrested and booked into the county jail, where he was held without bond.
He was charged with first-degree murder after law enforcement learned that Solberg did not survive his injuries.
Solberg left behind a son, according to his GoFundMe.
It was reported that Erlbacher tried unsuccessfully to reduce his charge to second-degree murder because he said “he was drunk and didn’t intend to kill Solberg.”
District Judge Greg Steensland said, “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.”
“Intoxication is a defense, only when it causes a mental disability which makes a person incapable of forming specific intent.”
“Evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt that Erlbacher acted without justification,” Greg added.
In December 2021, Erlbacher was found guilty at a bench trial, and the judge sentenced him the following year, in February, to life in prison.