Willmar man enters guilty pleas to weapon, domestic charges
WILLMAR -- Benjamin Allen Pierskalla, 24, of Willmar, pleaded guilty Monday to a felony charge of possessing a pistol or assault weapon within 10 years of a violent crime conviction and to a misdemeanor charge of domestic assault for a Jan. 25 domestic incident.
As part of a plea agreement, three additional charges of possessing a pistol or assault weapon within 10 years of a violent crime conviction, plus a gross misdemeanor charge of child endangerment by firearm will be dismissed. He will be sentenced Nov. 19.
The charges were filed after Willmar police officers found four long guns -- including a shotgun, 30-30 rifle, .223 rifle and a pellet gun -- in the apartment when they were called to a domestic assault. According to the court file, Pierskalla was sentenced in June 2001 as an adjudicated delinquent to an adult sentence for felony second-degree assault. The sentence of 21 months was stayed and he was forbidden from owning firearms.
According to the complaint, a woman called police around 9 p.m. Jan. 25, reporting that Pierskalla had beaten her up and then took off in a vehicle. Officers responded and saw a vehicle that matched the description in the parking lot but did not locate the suspect.
They interviewed the woman, who had blood on her shirt and hands, who said they had a verbal argument and that she attempted to leave the residence, but that he stopped her and said he was leaving. She said he returned to hit and kick her, along with attempting to cover her mouth with his hand, before he left when she said she was calling the police.
The woman told police she was frightened because his guns remained in the apartment.
Officers located the four firearms in a bedroom without locks or safety mechanisms.
Two young children also live in the apartment.