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Montevideo brawl leads to multiple charges

MONTEVIDEO — Four men face felony charges stemming from a brawl outside an apartment building in Montevideo last month during which a handgun and a loaded rifle were brandished.

Albert Vanlier Hughes and Steven Lee Johnson, both of Montevideo, made initial appearances Wednesday in Chippewa County District Court.

Hughes, 18, is charged with assault in the second degree with a dangerous weapon, ineligible possession of a pistol and terroristic threats. All three are felonies. He also faces misdemeanor charges of fleeing a police officer, fifth-degree assault and disorderly conduct.

Johnson, 25, is charged with felony-level assault in the second degree and ineligible possession of a pistol.

A court appearance is scheduled today for Halden Efren, 23, for aiding and abetting assault in the second degree and disorderly conduct.

Paul Jeffrey Anderson, 20, is charged with three felonies: assault in the second degree with a dangerous weapon, terroristic threats and receiving stolen property. He is also charged with two misdemeanor counts of underage possession of alcohol, two petty misdemeanor counts of possession of a small amount of marijuana and one petty misdemeanor count of possessing drug paraphernalia. He was arraigned last week.

The fight broke out on the afternoon of July 18 outside the Lincoln Apartments in Montevideo. A crowd soon gathered, and at one point Efren allegedly removed a 9 mm handgun from the waistband of his pants and handed it to Hughes. According to the criminal complaint, witnesses said Hughes brandished the gun and pointed it at several people.

That prompted Anderson, who lived at the Lincoln Apartments, to go inside and allegedly come back to the doorway with a rifle. A physical scuffle ensued outside the building.

When Montevideo Police Department officers arrived on the scene in response to a call, several people fled, including Hughes. Officers gave chase and managed to take him into custody. Court records said a 9 mm handgun was recovered from the bushes along the path where Hughes ran. A magazine with one round also was found under a vehicle near the scene of the fight.

Both Hughes and Johnson have a criminal record that prohibits them from having a firearm. A warrant was also out for Johnson's arrest after he was a no-show for a hearing in late June on a felony charge of failing to register as a predatory offender.

Meanwhile, a search of Anderson's apartment reportedly yielded alcohol, some marijuana and a loaded magazine. According to the criminal complaint, Anderson led law enforcement officers to his truck, where they recovered a rifle with a loaded magazine and a round in the chamber under the rear seat.

The investigation subsequently revealed that the rifle, which Anderson allegedly bought from someone through Facebook, was stolen.

An omnibus hearing for Anderson will be held Sept. 19.

Two other people arrested at the scene of the fight entered guilty pleas and were sentenced Wednesday.

Sirena Hughes, 19, was sentenced to 90 days in jail for misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Judge Thomas Van Hon ordered her to serve 24 days, with credit for 16 days, and stayed the remainder for one year. Hughes also was placed on unsupervised probation for one year. As part of her plea agreement, a felony charge of making terroristic threats was dismissed.

Hughes allegedly was fighting with another woman at the scene. Officers had to forcibly drag the two apart and place Hughes in the back of a squad car. After she was released, she allegedly threatened the woman and told her, "Ain't nobody going to be left in Montevideo."

Malik Palton, 19, was convicted of obstructing the legal process, a gross misdemeanor.

A misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct was dismissed. The judge sentenced him to one year in jail and ordered him to serve 27 days, with credit for 18 days. The rest of the sentence was stayed for one year. Palton must then spend a year on unsupervised probation.

He allegedly struggled with law enforcement officers as they attempted to escort him to a squad car. Officers ended up using Mace to subdue him and get him into handcuffs.

At the time of the fight, Palton was on release from a fifth-degree assault charge for which he was previously arrested and booked. He pleaded guilty Wednesday to that charge as well and will serve a concurrent sentence of 90 days in jail, with all but 27 days stayed for one year.

Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at http://healthbeat.areavoices.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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