Cesar Jeff Cervantes-Montoya

Cesar Jeff Cervantes-Montoya, 24, of Elko New Market, is charged with second-degree murder in Scott County District Court.

A 24-year-old Elko New Market man is charged with second-degree murder after he allegedly killed his neighbor with a hammer during an argument this month.

Cesar Jeff Cervantes-Montoya is charged with second-degree murder while committing a felony in Scott County District Court.

According to charges, Elko New Market Police responded to a residence on Main Street around 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 5 on report of an assault.

Upon arrival, police found Cervantes-Montoya outside the residence. He allegedly told police he’d hit the victim and believes he is dead.

Inside the residence, police found a deceased adult man laying face down at the bottom of the basement steps. A hammer was located on the coffee table.

During an interview at the Elko New Market Police Department, Cervantes-Montoya told investigators he’d confronted the victim that morning because he believed he’d been hitting his dog.

He said he pushed the victim when the argument escalated and the victim, denying the allegations, pushed Cervantes-Montoya back.

Cervantes-Montoya told police he then grabbed the nearest object, which was a hammer, and struck the victim multiple times in the head.

He said he “panicked” but also felt “slightly liberated” after the victim fell to the ground and was not responsive.

Afterwards, he rinsed off the hammer in the sink and did not attempt to render aid to the victim, he reportedly told police.

According to charges, Cervantes-Montoya said he didn’t intend to kill the victim, but also didn’t feel bad if he did, saying, “but I killed him, and I don’t care.”

Cervantes-Montoya was scheduled to make his first appearance in Scott County District Court on Jan. 14 at 8:30 a.m.

In an email to Southwest News Media, Elko New Market Police Chief Brady Juell said the investigation is ongoing and being led by investigators with the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office.

“The family members of the victim were completely caught off guard by this tragedy and relayed to law enforcement that they desire privacy while dealing with this incredible loss,” Juell wrote.