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Dave Roepke, Published September 10 2010

Chicago man gets 3 years in prison

After pleading guilty to a reduced assault charge, an Illinois 28-year-old initially accused of attempted murder was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison.

Calvin Roger Johnston Jr., of Chicago, admitted in Cass County District Court that he stabbed Devante Deon Johnson on May 29 in Fargo.

Leah Viste, an assistant Cass County state’s attorney, said Johnson ended up losing a kidney after he was stabbed 14 times.

Johnson, a 22-year-old at the time of the assault, told police he’d been stabbed “around the corner” from the Sanford Health hospital on Seventh Avenue North.

Hospital staff reported the incident to police at 10:35 p.m. on May 29 after Johnson was dropped off at the emergency room with stab wounds.

When police later showed him a photo lineup including Johnston, Johnson said he was “100 percent sure” Johnston was the man who stabbed him, according to a police report filed with the charge against Johnston.

A charge of attempted murder was filed against Johnston on July 27, and he was arrested a little less than three weeks later.

Prosecutors were willing to reduce the charge to a Class B count of aggravated assault because Johnston could have potentially argued he was acting in self-defense, Viste said.

The attorney for Johnston, Steven Mottinger, said his client did not start the altercation that prompted the stabbing and that it was not his knife, either.

The three-year sentence was a year longer than the mandatory minimum of two years and was jointly recommended by both the prosecution and defense.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Roepke at (701) 241-5535