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Attempted officer stabbing lands man 20-year sentence

BEMIDJI – A Ponemah man accused of trying to stab two local police officers was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison.

Curtis Jay French, 26, of Ponemah, was sentenced by Beltrami County District Judge Shari Schluchter for two counts of felony use of a deadly force against a peace officer.

French was sentenced to 10 years in prison for each count; the sentence will be served consecutively. He was given credit for 689 days already served for each count. He will not receive parole or supervised release.

According to the criminal complaint, French attempted to stab a Bemidji police officer and a Beltrami County sheriff’s deputy after they responded to a domestic assault about 4 a.m. March 12, 2011.

A woman who lived in Northern Star Apartments reported that French had entered her residence, which was a violation of an order of protection, and assaulted her by slapping her in the face.

Law enforcement responded and attempted to arrest French as he walked away from the woman’s apartment.

French extracted a large kitchen knife from the rear of his pants and attempted to stab the responding police officer and sheriff’s deputy, according to the complaint.

French eventually was subdued, but continued to threaten both men and use obscenities, according to the complaint.

After they forced French to release the knife and secured him, French told the officers they would have been better off shooting him because he would hunt them down and kill them after he was released from custody, according to the complaint.