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Jury finds jail inmate guilty of assault

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A Burleigh Morton Detention Center inmate has been found guilty of aggravated assault in the January 2021 beating of another inmate.

Pablo Gonzalez, 30, of Bismarck, will serve five years in prison for the conviction. A jury on May 11 found him guilty of aggravated assault but not guilty of attempted murder, court records show.

Authorities alleged Gonzalez punched Travis Glass, of Mandan, more than 20 times before Glass fell to the floor. Gonzalez slammed Glass’s head into the floor and put him in a choke hold before jail staff intervened, according to March 2021 preliminary hearing testimony from Ron Mehrer, investigator with the Burleigh County Sheriff's Department. 

The incident happened amid a discussion involving several inmates about what charges each faced, according to Mehrer.

Glass suffered broken bones in his face; cuts and bruises; and neck, back, and eye injuries as a result of the assault. Glass was hanging onto a bench and Gonzalez was attempting to pull him away when center staff arrived, the deputy said.

Defense attorney William Thomason argued at the preliminary hearing that the nature of the incident better fit an aggravated assault charge, saying “the evidence just isn’t there for attempted murder.”

South Central District Judge Cynthia Feland tacked the five-year sentence onto the end of the time Gonzalez is currently serving. He was in the detention center on Kidder County charges of fleeing police, drug-related DUI and motor vehicle theft. He was found guilty in June 2021 and later sentenced to three years in prison.

Court records show he pleaded guilty to drug and preventing arrest felonies in September 2020, theft and preventing arrest felonies in June 2020, and terrorizing in August 2016.

Glass at the time of the incident was in the detention center on suspicion of violating an order prohibiting contact. He pleaded guilty in June 2021 and was sentenced to a year on probation and six days in jail. He was given credit for six days served.

Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com

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