Man in sword assault gets probation

Published 10:41 am Saturday, May 6, 2017

A man who assaulted several people with a wooden samurai sword and was involved in other incidents in a trio of cases from 2015 and 2016 will serve seven years of supervised probation.

Benjamin Lerum, 19, was sentenced Thursday in Mower County District Court as part of a plea agreement to a stayed 21-month prison term for second-degree assault for a Nov. 20, 2015, incident, which means he’ll serve seven years of probation as long as he follows 20 conditions.

In two other cases, he was sentenced to a stayed 18-month prison term for fifth-degree assault for a Sept. 22, 2016, incident, and he was sentenced to a stayed 13-month prison term for first-degree criminal damage to property for a Dec. 16, 2015 incident. In both, he’ll serve five years of probation as long as he follows 20-plus conditions in each case. Both sentences are concurrent to the seven-year probation sentence, meaning they’ll be served at the same time.

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According to court records, Lerum and another man, David Mattson-Fuller, threatened a man at the 14th Street Northwest McDonald’s on Sept. 22, 2016. Mattson-Fuller allegedly threatened the man before Lerum jumped on the hood and punched the windshield causing it to shatter.

On Dec. 16, 2015, Lerum smashed the window of a 2008 Toyota Corolla with a sword or stick in the Neveln Elementary School area during a confrontation after he and another person had been exchanging messages on Facebook.

In another case, Lerum was arrested on Nov. 20, 2015, for similar charges of three counts of felony second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. According to the court complaint, officers spoke with a witness who said Lerum came to the door of the residence and hit another witness with the wooden samurai sword on the shoulder about 11 p.m. at the 300 block of First Avenue Southwest.

Lerum, allegedly struck another person with the sword, and chased another person with the sword.

Another witness who was reportedly watching from an upstairs apartment near the scene saw about 15 people, along with Lerum chasing someone down the road with the sword.

Mattson-Fuller is serving five years of probation, along with 40 hours of community service, for felony theft.