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Man pleads in case involving hammer, Taser and mace

WILLMAR -- A rural Willmar man pleaded guilty Wednesday to a felony charge of domestic assault by strangulation for an August 2008 incident that involved the use of a hammer, mace and a stun gun.

Bryan Gordon Petersen, 44, entered an Alford plea in Kandiyohi County District Court. Under the plea, he does not admit guilt, but does concede that there is likely enough evidence against him for a jury to convict him. Under a plea agreement, another felony charge for second-degree assault and a misdemeanor domestic assault charge will be dismissed. He will be sentenced July 14.

Another felony charge, also for second-degree assault, was dismissed earlier after District Judge Randall Sleiter ruled there was no probably cause for the charge as mace and a stun gun were not considered dangerous weapons.

The charges were filed after Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputies were dispatched Aug. 28 to meet a woman who wanted to report a domestic assault in Svea. The woman also asked deputies to go to the home because there were children still there.

The woman said Petersen asked her to help him with a project in a nearby garage and when she was helping, he sprayed her face with either spray paint or mace. She said he then took out an electrical shock device, possibly a Taser stun gun, and shocked her in the neck, chest and back. They then wrestled, she fell down and then he hit her in the head twice with a ball-peen hammer.

While she was attempting to crawl away, he tried to strangle her with a piece of rope and with his arm around her neck. The woman also said that Petersen took out another piece of rope and put it around his neck as though he was preparing to hang himself.

She managed to run away, get into her car and drive to a home in Willmar, where she called for law enforcement. The next day, personnel from the Sheriff's Office used cell phone information to search for Petersen, who was located near his vehicle and arrested. Officers found a loaded .38-caliber handgun on his person and a canister of mace in his vehicle.