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Second man in meat saw case is sentenced

WINONA — The second of two men accused of threatening a college student with a meat saw inside a warehouse has been sentenced in the case.

John Arnold Demaske, 46, was sentenced to five years probation and 360 hours of community work service for his conviction on one count of gross misdemeanor stalking. The sentence will run concurrently with a sentence of 80 hours of community work service for his conviction in an August drug incident.

Demaske received a stay of adjudication in the stalking case; he pleaded guilty, but the court doesn't "accept" the plea. When probation and its conditions are successfully completed, the charges are dismissed, and the defendant's criminal record doesn't reflect a conviction. The arrest record remains.

In exchange for his guilty pleas, one count each of false imprisonment, second-degree assault and terroristic threats, all felonies, were dismissed.

His co-defendant, Abdirhahman Hassan Samatar, 35, was sentenced in April to 45 days in jail, with credit for 45 days served, and placed on probation for two years.


He, too, received a stay of adjudication on one count of terroristic threats, a felony. Samatar pleaded guilty to the charge in March; in exchange, one felony count each of false imprisonment and second-degree assault were dismissed.

The investigation began about 2:30 a.m. Sept. 13, when Winona police were sent downtown for a report of an assault. They found a man standing on a corner, naked and crying hysterically, the complaint says.

He told officers he had been on his way back to his dorm room earlier and became lost, then was approached by two men — later identified as Samatar and Demaske — who began to yell at him. The men got on either side of him, took him by the shoulders and led him to a warehouse on Laird Street.

The victim said he felt like he had to cooperate with them and that "he was going to die in there," court documents say. Once inside the building, Samatar slapped him, then the two made him stand on a chair and remove all of his clothing.

According to the reports, the men began to ask the victim about some things they thought he had stolen from them, then told the victim "you don't know the things we're going to do to you" and also spoke about sexually assaulting him.

After about 30 minutes, the victim was able to get away, then ran into the street, yelling for help. A search of the warehouse turned up the man's clothing and belongings; also in the shop were a meat slicer, chest freezers, knives, blood-stained white aprons, "hardcore pornography" and machetes, the complaint says.

Demaske told police he had found the college student inside the locked shop, and he and Samatar "wanted to scare him." Two days earlier, the report says, a bank bag containing $400 cash was allegedly stolen from the shop, and though Demaske suspected Samatar of stealing it, he hadn't reported it to police.

Samatar told authorities Demaske was angry when he found the victim inside the shop, had turned on the meat saw and told the victim he was going to be "cut."


The student wasn't injured.

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