Assault charges filed in stabbing case
Published 8:49 pm Tuesday, August 10, 2010
The three men arrested Sunday in connection to an alleged stabbing on Columbus Avenue near the Johnson Street railroad crossing were charged in Freeborn County District Court on Tuesday with charges ranging from second- and third-degree assault to aiding and abetting assault.
Court documents allege one of the men stabbed 25-year-old Javier Torres of Albert Lea, while the two others held Torres down.
Torres was ultimately transported to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester because of internal bleeding from the wound to his abdomen. As of Monday, he was in fair condition.
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Todd Raymond Paulson, 44, of Blaine, is the man accused of the actual stabbing. He faces one count of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon and one count of third-degree assault causing substantial bodily harm.
David Joshua-John Skotte and Marcus Allen-Wayne Hallmark, both 19, of Columbia Heights, each face one count of second-degree aiding and abetting assault with a dangerous weapon and one count of third-degree aiding and abetting assault causing substantial bodily harm.
According to court documents, police received a call of the stabbing just after 5:30 a.m. Sunday. When officers responded to the area, they met with a reported witness, who said Torres had been taken to the emergency room by a friend.
The victim reportedly told police that he did not know who stabbed him, but that he had been assaulted by three men, one of who had a knife. He said the three men wanted to fight with the person who initially met with police after the emergency call was made.
This person, identified by his initials in the report, told officers he was at the Freeborn County Fair with his girlfriend and two other females. The girls introduced him to some men from the Twin Cities.
He said the men allegedly started talking about “gang-related stuff” and “got into his face,” according to the report. They wanted him to go behind the fair rides but he would not go with them.
Later, when he went to his house after leaving the fair, he saw the three men there. He ended up meeting them near the railroad tracks at Columbus Avenue and Johnson Street to talk to them.
Court documents state when he met them there, the three men came after him swinging knifes, and he fled.
Torres was also present at the meeting at the railroad tracks.
Two other witnesses told police that Paulson had a knife and used it to stab Torres. One witness said Hallmark and Skotte held the victim as Paulson stabbed him, records continue.
Officers searched the area and found Skotte and Hallmark hiding under a deck at 425 St. Peter Ave.
According to court reports, Hallmark admitted to an officer that he and Skotte had been in a fight with some people by the tracks.
A fourth witness told officers that he saw three men run to a house through the back yards at the north end of St. Peter before the railroad tracks, documents continue.
The witness told police that as they ran by his house he reportedly heard one of them say, “All I know is we need to get out of here.”
Officers found Paulson at 709 St. Peter Ave.
Two kitchen knives were also found on the deck and in the grass in the backyard of this residence.
Freeborn County District Court Judge Steve Schwab ordered that Paulson’s bail be set at $75,000 with conditions and $150,000 without conditions.
Schwab and Assistant Freeborn County Attorney David Walker said Paulson has had numerous warrants, along with charges of aggravated robbery, obstructing the legal process, fleeing police and domestic assault, among others, in the past.
Schwab set Hallmark’s bail at $80,000 without conditions and $40,000 with conditions. Skotte’s bail was set at $60,000 unconditional and $30,000 conditional.
Hallmark and Skotte also both have had several warrants in the past, along with some prior criminal acts, according to Walker and Schwab.
Of the three men, Skotte had the shortest criminal history, but he still had several warrants that had been issued.
Court records state second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, along with second-degree aiding and abetting assault with a dangerous weapon, carry a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a $14,000 fine. The third-degree assault while causing substantial harm charge, along with the aiding and abetting in the third-degree charge, carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The hearings for all three men — who were approved for public defenders on Tuesday — are scheduled for 1 p.m. on Aug. 30.