The state has filed motions to dismiss attempted murder-related charges against four men accused in a July 3 stabbing in Mandan allegedly tied to outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Attorneys for two of the suspects say their clients are relieved. The man who was stabbed calls the development "pretty depressing," because he says that even though his wounds have healed some emotional scars remain.
"They tried to kill me. That's all there is to it," said 34-year-old Joel Kraft. "You don't stab somebody eight times without trying to kill him."
Assistant Attorney General Britta Demello Rice on Friday filed motions to dismiss charges of conspiring to commit murder and participating in a criminal street gang against Nash Wollan, 48, of Williston; Girard Glaser, 49, of Mandan; Nicholas Kinsella-Greff, 28, of Mandan; and Edward Nuckols, 32, of Bismarck.
North Dakota Attorney General’s Office spokeswoman Liz Brocker declined comment on the dismissals. Demello Rice in her motions said "although there was probable cause to file charges, there is insufficient evidence at this time to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt."
She asks the court to dismiss the charges "without prejudice" -- a legal term that leaves open the door to charges being filed again in the future if there is more evidence.
Authorities on Sept. 11 issued arrest warrants for the men in connection with a stabbing during a July 3 street dance outside the Silver Dollar Bar in Mandan. Authorities alleged the four were members or aspiring members of the Sons of Silence motorcycle club and attacked a member of the rival Hell's Angels. A man not associated with either motorcycle club suffered multiple stab wounds and a collapsed lung in the incident, according to court documents.
The U.S. Department of Justice labels the Sons of Silence and the Hell's Angels as "outlaw motorcycle gangs." North Dakota has historically been territory claimed by the Sons of Silence, police say. Another motorcycle club in recent years joined the Hell’s Angels, which Sons of Silence members may have seen as a challenge, authorities say.
The attack was unprovoked and happened while Kraft and his wife were dancing near the stage, according to Kraft. He said they were in the company of someone who was wearing a Hell's Angels vest and was stabbed twice but not seriously injured. Kraft said his wife was pushed, and then a woman tried to punch Kraft. Someone in the crowd accused Kraft of trying to hit the woman, and the men started to beat him, he said.
"I didn't know I was getting stabbed at the time," Kraft said. "I just couldn't get away."
Kraft was out of work for two months. His collapsed lung has since healed but he doesn't trust anyone and doesn't feel safe. He said he's not a member of a motorcycle club.
"I had no part of this," he said. "It's not my lifestyle."
State officials told Kraft they are waiting for more evidence in the case and that they need more witnesses to come forward. As it stands now, a trial would not result in convictions, he was told.
"It's pretty depressing," he said. "All my hopes and emotions were tied into this jury trial. That's not going to happen anymore."
Glaser’s attorney, Justin Vinje, said the allegations turned his client’s life upside down.
“You cannot imagine how happy he is with this news, especially coming into the holidays,” Vinje said. “Law enforcement conducted a thorough investigation, and we are grateful for their efforts.”
Jackson Lofgren, the attorney representing Wollan, echoed Vinje's thoughts.
"We felt we had a very strong case but I commend the state for continuing to investigate and reassess the charges," Lofgren said.
Kinsella-Greff's attorney, Joshua Weatherspoon, declined comment on the case. James Loraas, the attorney representing Nuckols, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com