Wendy Reuer, Published April 05 2013
Fargo man faces attempted murder charges
Damon John White Bird was charged in Cass County District Court on Friday with attempted murder, a Class A felony, as well as two counts of felonious restraint, and aggravated assault, which are class C felonies. He also faces a misdemeanor charge of tampering with evidence.
If convicted on the attempted murder charge, he faces a mandatory four-year prison term. An aggravated assault conviction would carry a mandatory two-year sentence.
White Bird, who is either 22 or 23 years old, is being held in the Cass County Jail on $100,000 bail.
According to police reports, two men told police they were in White Bird’s apartment at 66 Broadway in Fargo when they were assaulted Tuesday.
Witnesses told police they saw White Bird, who is also known as Sapphire, hit one of the victims with a sword and what they thought was a baseball bat with a nail sticking out of it. They told police they were scared of White Bird, who said he’d kill them if they told anyone, court documents allege.
White Bird hit one of the alleged victims in the head with a table leg, knocking him unconscious, according to the criminal complaint. While the man was down, White Bird kicked the man in the head, witnesses said.
The man suffered a skull fracture and internal bleeding, police said.
A second man had puncture wounds on his upper back and chest, across his shoulders and on his face and hands, police alleged.
White Bird told one of four witnesses that they could not leave his apartment until one of the victims was dead, police allege in court records.
White Bird had a lock on his apartment door that could not be opened from the inside without a key, the complaint said.
A neighbor of White Bird’s told officers that over four days she heard what sounded like “beatings going on in that apartment,” court documents stated. She told police she thinks White Bird gets people drunk in his apartment, takes their money then beats them.
According to court records, the neighbor said after she heard someone screaming for their life and for two hours, she knocked on White Bird’s door. One of the alleged victims and a witness ran out screaming, “He’s going to kill him,” police reports allege.
White Bird admitted to police he beat the two men but said it was self-defense and witnesses would back him up. However, the witnesses he named were ones who had already spoke to police and said they were afraid of White Bird and the assaults were not self-defense, court records said.
Officers found the table leg used during the assault in White Bird’s apartment as well as bloody rags and clothes investigators think he used to clean up the scene. A sword believed to be the one used in the assaults was found on a nearby rooftop, police say.
White Bird was assigned a public defender at Friday’s hearing. His attorney could not be reached for comment late Friday afternoon.
White Bird is scheduled to appear next in court on May 1.
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Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530