Lenz killed during an apparent attack on his roommate

This article submitted by Michael Jacobson on 3/14/01.

In the wake of his murder, instead of having his poems and writing published, the details of Michael Lenz's death in Boston have made the headlines from Massachusetts to Minneapolis and central Minnesota.

Lenz, 25, a 1994 graduate of Paynesville Area High School, was shot to death in Boston on Friday, March 2. Boston police have arrested a medical student for Lenz's murder, according to the Boston Globe. The apparent motive was a dispute between the suspect and Lenz's roommate in Boston.

Lenz was a graduate student in English at the University of Massachusetts. His funeral was held Friday at Crystal Hills Assembly.

Classmates and teachers contacted by the Press remembered Lenz as a quiet, intelligent student with a passion for music and poetry. "He wasn't big on the latest trends," said Doug Voss, an elementary playmate. "(He) cared about his music and poetry."

Tiffany Karsch remembers working with Lenz on a film project their senior year. "He was a very creative spirit," she said. "Mike was willing to be anybody's friend."

Karsch regarded him as a deep intellectual, and said that Lenz was always carrying a notebook with him.

Peter Lindquist, another classmate, said Lenz was a good, quiet student who kept to himself. "He was a private individual who enjoyed listening to music, writing poetry, and collecting baseball cards," Lindquist explained.

Lenz took Honors English from Dick Butler, who also taught Mike's father. "He was a very likeable student. I think Mike was brighter than he appeared to be. He didn't say much in class," Butler stated.

"I was pleased to see he had found his niche in life," Butler said, of Lenz, who earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. "He seemed to come into his own in college."

Arrest made in Boston
According to the Globe, police believe Lenz was murdered because of a dispute his roommate had with a medical student. Lenz and his roommate, Gene Yazgur, 28, were shot in their Boston apartment. Yazgur is still in a coma.

Arrested and charged in the attack was Daniel Mason, 35, who was a medical student in the same hospital where Yazgur is now a patient.

According to the Globe, Yazgur served in the Israeli military, including five years in a commando squad. He allegedly entered Lenz and Yazgur's apartment around 5:30 a.m. on Friday morning, shot and killed Lenz, and shot Yazgur four times.

Yazgur's and Mason's dispute stems back nearly four years, the Globe states from police reports. On Sept. 1, 1997, Yazgur - who has since become a computer engineer - was driving a moving van, when he blocked Mason's car. Mason wanted Yazgur to move the truck immediately, and when Yazgur told him he would have to wait five minutes, Mason grabbed him and slashed his face.

Mason was convicted of assault, and Yazgur sued him in 1999, according to the Globe. In August 2000, a judgment in favor of Yazgur was given, and Mason was ordered to pay $118,000.

Mason allegedly made threats after the judgment, saying, "You'll never see a penny," the Globe quotes Jefferson Boone, Yazgur's lawyer, as saying.

Mason received a court order to start paying Yazgur on Thursday, the Globe reported, and the attack occurred on Friday, resulting in Lenz's death.

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