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Willmar man sentenced to 23 months in prison for stabbing two women

Juan Polanco-Castro, 49, of Willmar, who was convicted of two counts of second-degree assault-dangerous weapon for stabbing two women, was sentenced Aug. 2 in Kandiyohi County District Court to 23 months in prison.

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WILLMAR — A Willmar man convicted of stabbing two women with a knife in January was sentenced Aug. 2 to 23 months in prison on one charge and 18 months on the other, to be served concurrently.

Juan Polanco-Castro, 49, was convicted of two felony charges of second degree assault — dangerous weapon. Two misdemeanor counts of domestic assault while inflicting or attempting to inflict bodily harm were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

Juan Polanco-Castro custody photo
Juan Polanco-Castro
Contributed / Minnesota Department of Corrections

The plea agreement called for the shortest sentence allowed under the guidelines for the two counts to which he pleaded guilty in April — 18 months and 23 months — and that they be served concurrently.

According to court documents, the guilty pleas to the two charges were Norgaard pleas, offered when a defendant cannot remember the circumstances of the office but agrees that the state's evidence is sufficient to result in a guilty verdict at trial. Norgaard pleas are treated like any other guilty plea.

Polanco-Castro received credit for 186 days already served. Judge Stephen Wentzell also ordered restitution, the amount to be determined within 180 days.


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. According to the state Department of Corrections website, Polanco-Castro is expected to be released from the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud on May 9, 2023.

According to the criminal complaint, Polanco-Castro was arrested Jan. 29 after the Willmar Police Department was dispatched at about 6:30 a.m. that day to a home on Litchfield Avenue Southeast. A caller had reported that a woman had been stabbed.

When officers arrived, they found two victims — a woman who had been stabbed in the shoulder and another who had been stabbed in the back of the neck.

The woman with the neck wound said they had been drinking when Polanco-Castro went out of control. The woman said she was afraid of him and feared he would hurt her as he followed her around the house.

She said he had a knife and yelled multiple times, “I’m going to stab you,” according to the complaint.

When she was facing away from him, he allegedly stabbed her in the back. She ran to the other woman, and Polanco-Castro followed.

The woman with the shoulder wound said she was in her bedroom playing on her phone when she heard arguing. She told police that Polanco-Castro attempted to stab her in the chest, but she turned, and the knife cut her left shoulder.

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.

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