College St. altercation believed to be over money

Published 1:50 pm Monday, April 12, 2010

A 39-year-old Albert Lea man was charged in Freeborn County District Court on Monday for allegedly striking another man under the chin with a knife during an altercation over owed money.

Juan Antonio Altamirano faces one count of assault with a dangerous weapon in the case.

He appeared on the charge in-custody Monday with an interpreter.

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According to the criminal complaint filed in court, Altamirano was arrested after a series of events late Saturday and early Sunday.

The complaint states at 11:48 p.m. Saturday, Albert Lea police officers responded to a call about a possible domestic dispute in the area of 321 W. College St. At that time, the police did not have a specific description of the incident but had been generally informed that there may have been a knife involved.

When they arrived at 321 W. College St., they found Altamirano, who did not want to talk about what was happening, except to say that his neighbor owed him money, the document continues.

It described him as being “agitated,” but he said he did not want any action to be taken at that time.

Later, at 12:10 a.m. Sunday, officers were again called to the residence for a 911 hang-up call.

An officer met with Altamirano, his wife and another person, who said he accidentally called 911 by hitting redial.

Ten minutes later, at about 12:20 a.m., officers returned to the area a third time.

This time, officers noticed Altamirano had blood on his shirt and there was a broken stick near him that had shards of glass with blood on it, the court record states.

When an officer asked about the stick, the man became agitated again, it continues.

Another officer found eight panes of broken glass at 329 W. College St. At that residence, the officer spoke to a man who had reportedly arrived at the residence of his brother shortly before midnight, before the first call to police.

That man told police that shortly after he arrived, he was confronted by Altamirano who mistakenly thought he was his brother.

Altamirano demanded money, and the man told him that his brother would be back on Sunday.

The man said Altamirano first tried to punch him, but the man punched Altamirano in the face.

He added that his nephew warned him that Altamirano had a knife.

The complaint states an officer noticed blood on the man, which appeared to be from a cut under his chin. He was taken to Albert Lea Medical Center for treatment.

The man’s nephew told authorities he thought his uncle was struck by a knife and that afterward, Altamirano returned to the house and broke several windows.

During court Monday, Altamirano requested a public defender for his charge.

Freeborn County District Court Judge Steve Schwab set unconditional bail at $20,000 and conditional bail at $5,000.

Conditions include no contact with the alleged victim, no alcohol or mood-altering chemicals, being subject to random testing for alcohol and chemicals, staying away from bars, having daily breath tests, checking in with court services two times a week and having no weapons.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a $14,000 fine.

Altamirano is next scheduled to appear in court at 1 p.m. May 10.