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Two more cases pending as man begins 21-month prison sentence for Benson, Minn., domestic assault

A man has begun serving a 21-month prison sentence for a domestic assault conviction in Swift County. Prison terms are expected in similar Clay County and Stearns County cases under the terms of a plea agreement.

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BENSON — A 46-year-old man is serving a 21-month prison sentence for assaulting a woman in her Benson home, and a plea agreement in the Swift County case will also see him sentenced to prison terms in cases in two other counties.

Aaron Lavell Ross was sentenced June 13 in Swift County District Court after he pleaded guilty in May to felony domestic assault. Judge David Mennis ordered fines and fees of $140 and gave Ross credit for 16 days already served. A felony count of domestic assault by strangulation was dismissed.

In addition to pleading guilty to the single charge in Swift County, online court records show he pleaded guilty to felony domestic assault on May 26 in Clay County, and sentencing there is scheduled for June 29. A sentence of 23 months is expected, according to the plea agreement, and a felony count of domestic assault by strangulation will be dismissed.

Aaron Lavell Ross.jfif
Aaron Lavell Ross
Custody photo

The incident charged in Clay County occurred Oct. 22, 2020, according to court documents.

Court records show a pretrial hearing scheduled Aug. 9 in Stearns County where Ross is charged with six domestic abuse-related felonies investigated by the Sartell Police Department in September 2021. The plea agreement indicates he must plead guilty to one of the counts, and the others would be dismissed. A sentence of 26 months is expected.

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Court records in the three cases show Ross with addresses in Benson, Minneapolis and St. Cloud. The charges in the three cases are against two alleged victims.

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Ross is currently incarcerated at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud. Under Minnesota law, offenders are required to serve at least two-thirds of a sentence in custody and may be allowed to serve the remaining time on supervised release.

The current expected release date is July 31, 2023, according to the Minnesota Department of Corrections website, but that will change when the longer sentences are pronounced in Clay and Stearns counties. There is no indication in the plea agreement document whether the sentences will be concurrent or consecutive.

According to the complaint in the Swift County case, a woman reported that Ross assaulted her Sept. 16, 2021, in her Benson home. She refused him access to her business account for a large purchase he wished to make, and he continued harassing her over that decision, she told police.

He would not let her leave the house. Ross kicked her and she fell and hurt her knee and ankle. She limped to the kitchen and tried to leave, but he stopped her and slammed her fingers in the door, according to the complaint.

She said Ross put his leg across her neck and she “started feeling goofy and went limp.” He eventually let her go and she locked herself in the bathroom until she was eventually able to leave the house.

Susan Lunneborg is the news editor of the West Central Tribune in Willmar, Minnesota. A journalist for more than 25 years, she has worked as a reporter and editor at newspapers in the Dakotas and Minnesota.
Lunneborg can be reached at: slunneborg@wctib.com or 320-214-4343.
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