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Fourth youth involved in YCC riot gets 5 years; judge calls conduct 'shocking'

Fourth youth involved in YCC riot gets 5 years; judge calls conduct 'shocking'

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A 17-year-old boy was sentenced Monday to serve five years in prison for what a judge called his “deliberate” and “shocking conduct” during a January 2018 riot at the Youth Correctional Center in Mandan.

Elijah Barse, who will turn 18 this week, pleaded guilty in August to his part in the uprising, during which he and three other youths allegedly assaulted guards and attempted to escape. Barse is the last of the four to be sentenced for acts of violence that South Central District Judge James Hill said had no justification.

“Zero,” Hill said. “It was criminal conduct.”

Barse and others were accused of assaulting YCC guards, choking one nearly to the point of unconsciousness and handcuffing him before attempting to escape. A North Dakota Highway Patrol trooper used bean bag rounds to prevent one of the youths from escaping.

The part Barse played in the violence was not a lapse in judgment but a planned attack, Assistant Burleigh County State’s Attorney Gabreille Goter said.

“It was hideous, ugly,” she said. “We’re lucky the injuries were not worse.”

Goter requested a 10-year sentence with five years suspended on the most serious charge of aggravated assault, and Hill agreed. That time will run concurrently with five-year sentences on each of four counts of simple assault on a peace officer. Barse also was given five-year suspended sentences for terrorizing, conspiracy to commit escape and preventing arrest.

Barse’s attorney, Justin Balzer, said his client understands what he did was wrong. He agreed with Goter’s recommendation but asked that Barse be given credit for 687 days served since the incident. Hill declined, instead allowing 223 days credit from the time formal charges were filed.

The other teens involved in the incident received prison sentences ranging from three to five years.

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

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