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Grand Forks business owner accused of punching man from behind turns himself in

Patrick Novak

A Grand Forks business owner has turned himself in after being accused of punching a man from behind.

Patrick Wayne Novak, 38, had an initial appearance Tuesday in Grand Forks District Court, where he faces a Class C felony of aggravated assault. The owner of Novak Construction turned himself into custody and was booked early Tuesday morning into the Grand Forks County Correctional Center, jail staff said Wednesday.

Judge Lolita Romanick ordered his release from jail on an appearance bond during his initial appearance.

The charge stems from accusations that Novak punched Chris Koppang from behind on Jan. 6 at the Bun Lounge in Grand Forks. The two were at the Mill Road bar after a UND hockey game when Novak approached Koppang and "initiated a conversation," according to court documents. Koppang said he didn't like Novak and asked the defendant to leave him alone, court documents said.

"Mr. Novak then made a comment to the effect that he would like to beat Koppang's face to a bloody pulp," police wrote in court documents.

Novak allegedly followed Koppang out of the bar shortly before 10:15 p.m., according to court documents. Novak then stepped behind Koppang and punched the right side of the accuser's face, knocking Koppang to the ground, the documents stated.

Novak is accused of continuing to punch Koppang as he lay face down on the ground. The alleged assault ended when a bystander pulled Novak off Koppang, according to court documents.

Koppang was treated for several facial bone fractures, including one that required surgery. Court documents indicate Koppang and Novak are "familiar with each other."

Novak is listed by the North Dakota Secretary of State's Office as the owner of Novak Construction. He faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The charge is Novak's first assault case in North Dakota.

April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as a city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.

Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.

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