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Cass Lake teen sentenced in stabbing assault

William Clifford Jones, 17, of Cass Lake, was sentenced Tuesday as an extended jurisdiction juvenile for felony first-degree assault with a dangerous weapon causing great bodily harm.

On Dec. 15 in Cass Lake, Jones stabbed a youth in the chest nearly killing him.

Cass County District Court Judge David Harrington sentenced Jones to serve an adult sentence of 86 months in prison but stayed the sentenced and placed Jones on probation until his 21st birthday on the following conditions: He must successfully complete a long term residential program at Northwest Minnesota Juvenile Center in Bemidji; have no contact with the victim, his family, his school or his residence; pay restitution; complete anger management course; complete individual therapy; not possess firearms; submit a DNA sample; not use mood-altering chemicals; and submit to testing to monitor compliance.

Jones was riding in a van Dec. 15 with others when he saw the victim walking and wanted to beat him up. Jones had the driver pull over, then walked up to the victim and stabbed him in the chest with a knife. Jones fled in the van, and the victim was able to make his way home where he collapsed. The victim was airlifted to a Duluth hospital for treatment of a life-threatening wound. Jones was three months shy of his 18th birthday, which will be Feb. 14, at the time of the attack. He had only minor juvenile infractions and no juvenile placements or treatments at the time of the attack. Because of his previous record, a certification study recommended Jones not to be certified to stand trial as an adult as requested by Cass County Attorney Chris Strandlie. The certification study recommended the case remain a extended jurisdiction juvenile prosecution.

The EJJ law adopted by Minnesota in 1994 is designed to deal with serious and violent older juvenile offenders who might not be certified to adult court because of have little or no juvenile history of offenses. Juvenile court jurisdiction normally ends at age 19.