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Emily Welker, Published April 08 2013

21-year-old gets nine years for ‘degrading’ beating

MOORHEAD – As Mason Seaborn’s mother waited with other supporters of the 21-year-old man accused of leaving his ex-girlfriend to die on a rural Clay County road last September, she still could not come to grips with the nearly decade-long sentence facing her son.

“He’s a kind, gentle, loving person,” Jayne Seaborn said Monday after Clay County District Court Judge Lisa Borgen sentenced her son to serve nine years and two months on charges of kidnapping and first-degree assault.

Seaborn pleaded guilty to the charges as part of a plea deal struck by prosecutors. An attempted murder charge was dismissed.

Assistant Clay County Attorney Heidi Davies said Seaborn’s victim “believed she was going to die – believed her child was going to be left without a mother,” the night of Sept. 30. The victim, identified only by her initials in the court complaint, did not think a nine-year sentence was long enough, Davies said.

Seaborn was accused in court documents of strangling the victim with a phone cord and beating her with the handle of a car jack, breaking a front tooth and leaving her heavily cut and bruised. He also spray-painted the victim’s face in what Davies called an “extremely violent and degrading attack.”

Court documents said the woman fled 2 miles barefoot to a Georgetown stranger’s home to ask for help. She later told investigators “she left as though if he hit her one more time, she would die,” according to court records.

Seaborn didn’t speak in court when given the chance.

In a pre-sentencing report, Borgen told Seaborn, it “basically sounded like you were blaming the victim for what happened.”

“You didn’t apologize to her, which is what would ordinarily happen when I asked you if you had anything to say,” the judge said, adding she thinks Seaborn has mental health issues to resolve in prison.

Jayne Seaborn said the incident was out of character for her son, whose defense attorney, Kenneth Kludt, said had no significant criminal priors and not much recollection of that night. She would have preferred a sentence focused on substance abuse treatment.

“He’s never done anything like this before – he loved her,” said Seaborn’s mother, who believes her son’s actions that night were influenced by the alcohol and synthetic marijuana he told her he’d consumed.

“I’ve heard stories that it can make a person violent,” she said.

Jayne Seaborn said she is not convinced her son was the person who hurt the victim, who left a Fargo bar that night with Seaborn and two other men. Nor is she convinced the victim was as badly hurt as reported, given she made it on foot to the Georgetown house.

Davies said the victim did not seek restitution because insurance covered the cost of her injuries.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541