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Second Red Lake man indicted in May 23 attempted murder

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

A federal superseding indictment unsealed Thursday in the District of Minnesota alleges that a second Red Lake man was involved in the May 23, stabbing of another man at a graduation party on the Red Lake Indian Reservation.

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The indictment charges Justin James Lussier, 21, with one count of assault with intent to commit murder, one count of assault with a dangerous weapon, and one count of aggravated assault. The indictment was unsealed following Lussier's initial appearance in federal court in Bemidji Thursday. Co-defendant Solomon Francis Desjarlait, 22, was charged June 15 with the same three crimes.

The superseding indictment alleges that on May 23, the defendants assaulted another man with a knife, intending to murder him. According to a law enforcement affidavit filed in the case, police were called to a residence on the Red Lake Indian Reservation at 12:47 a.m. May 23.

There they found the victim on the ground, a serious laceration to his torso. Ultimately, he was transported to a hospital in Fargo, N.D., where he stayed for several days. The victim reported to authorities that at the time of the stabbing, he was trying to calm a group of rowdy, young men. He said that while he was talking to the men, Desjarlait lunged at him and stabbed him several times. After he fell to the ground, others began punching and kicking him while Desjarlait continued to stab him.

If convicted, the defendants face a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the assault with intent to commit murder charge and 10 years on each of the other two charges. All sentences will be determined by a federal district court judge.

This case is the result of an investigation by the Red Lake Tribal Police Department and the FBI. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Clifford B. Wardlaw.

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