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Published January 26 2012

Deputy says ND town living in ‘state of fear’

WIMBLEDON, N.D. – Authorities claim an 18-year-old and his family in this Barnes County town have created a “state of fear” after the teenager allegedly threatened on Facebook to kill the city’s 216 residents.

Billy Deese was charged Thursday in Barnes County District Court with a felony count of terrorizing after he posted the alleged threat on his Facebook profile.

Deese made the alleged threat a day after a city councilman, Ron Smith, called the Barnes County Sheriff’s Office to report that Deese had followed him home and was circling his block, according to an affidavit by Barnes County Sgt. Julie Forsman.

Forsman’s affidavit does not quote the Facebook post but alleges it was “about murdering/slaughtering all of the residents of Wimbledon due to them calling law enforcement about Deese.”

Deese was already facing a separate felony terrorizing charge for another alleged dispute with a city councilman, Al Schlotfeldt.

In charges filed in October in Barnes County, Deese is accused of threatening to beat and kill Schlotfeldt as he accused him of turning the water off at the Deese household. As it turned out, the city’s water service was disrupted by a broken water main, court records claim.

The 19-year-old brother of Deese, Cody Deese, is also facing a felony charge filed Thursday in Barnes County – an aggravated assault case in which he is accused of hitting an elderly neighbor in the face after the man asked him to stop driving on his property. The alleged victim was knocked unconscious, records say.

Billy Deese already has two convictions for simple assault charges. Cody Deese also has several convictions for theft, disorderly conduct and simple assault.

The latest complaint against Billy Deese claims the Barnes County Sheriff’s Department has received numerous complaints from Wimbledon residents about the Deeses, but callers insist on anonymity “out of fear,” Forsman said in the affidavit filed Thursday.

Reached at home, the Deeses’ mother, Barb Case, disputed the allegations, calling the charges against her sons a “witch hunt.”

Case said the family has been treated unfairly by residents of Wimbledon ever since they moved to the city three years ago.

“We’ve done nothing against these people,” she said. “We’ve never terrorized anyone.”

Billy Deese, who Case said has Asperger’s syndrome, pleaded not guilty to his previous terrorizing charge, and is scheduled to stand trial on May 29.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535