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Man sentenced for assaulting drinking buddy at Spicer, Minn., bar

WILLMAR -- Benjamin Jeffrey Norlin, 25, of St. Cloud, was sentenced Monday to 22 days in jail, two years of probation and 167 hours of community service on a felony charge of third-degree assault for beating a man July 18 after drinking at a Spicer bar.

As part of his sentence handed down by Judge Donald M. Spilseth in Kandiyohi County District Court, Norlin was also ordered to pay a $50 fine and $3,485.50 in restitution to the victim, his insurance company and the State Crime Victims' Reparations Board. He was also ordered to follow through with all treatment recommendations and regularly attend Alcoholics Anonymous.

Norlin received a stay of adjudication on his sentence. Under the stay, no conviction will appear on his record if he complies with the conditions of probation.

As part of a plea agreement, lesser charges of driving while impaired and drug paraphernalia possession charges were dismissed.

The charges were filed after July 18, when Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputies were called to a home on Manitoba Avenue in Spicer. A bloodied man said that he had been drinking at a Spicer bar with Norlin, that they had argued and that Norlin had beaten him with his fists.

The victim, 24, of Litchfield had gone to the nearest home and asked the resident to call for help. Ambulance personnel took him to Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar for treatment. A relative later informed investigators that the man had a broken cheekbone and several stitches were required to close the gash over his eye.

A deputy en route to Rice Hospital noticed a vehicle along Trott Avenue that officers knew to be registered to Norlin and stopped it.

Norlin exhibited signs of alcohol consumption, failed field sobriety tests and a preliminary breath test showed he had a blood alcohol content of 0.20 percent. He was arrested and taken to the Law Enforcement Center, where his blood alcohol content was 0.19. The legal limit for driving is 0.08.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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