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Three men accused of Grand Forks burglary accept plea agreements

Mason Cruz Demontigny, 19, of Fargo, Keegan Julian Hofstad, 20, of Grand Forks, and Austin Jacob Suedel, 21, of Grand Forks, each pleaded guilty to involvement in a burglary, robbery and assault in a Grand Forks apartment in April.

FSA Court gavel 11-13-18
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Three men involved in a burglary and assault in Grand Forks in April have taken plea agreements.

Mason Cruz Demontigny, 19, of Fargo, Keegan Julian Hofstad, 20, of Grand Forks, and Austin Jacob Suedel, 21, of Grand Forks, were all sentenced to 90 days with the Grand Forks County Correctional Center and one year of supervised probation in plea hearings held on Monday, Oct. 19. Each of the three men will qualify for electronic home monitoring after 45 days in the correctional center.

Luke Michael Drougas, 20, of Wisconsin, is scheduled to appear for a change of plea hearing on Oct. 23. The fifth defendant in the case, Jacob Gregory Busch, 20, of Fargo, is scheduled to go to trial on Nov. 24.

According to court documents, seven people, including the five defendants, entered the victim's Grand Forks apartment on April 12 shortly before 11 p.m. and began shouting about money the victim owed. The five defendants found the victim in his bedroom, while the other two men -- who have not been charged with any crime -- waited in another room with the victim's roommates.

Drougas is accused of assaulting the victim, and Suedel and Hofstad pleaded guilty to holding the victim's head and legs, respectively, though Hofstad's attorney disputed the fact that he helped restrain the victim. Court documents stated that Hofstad used the victim's phone to transfer $180 from the victim's Venmo account, which was connected to his mother's bank account, into Suedel's account.

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Court documents indicate that the debt was drug-related.

Demontigny was accused of filming the encounter on his iPhone. The victim also told police Demontigny was holding a knife, but his attorney provided a video she said showed that Demontigny had not had any knife during the encounter.

"Your Honor, I never brandished any weapon," Demontigny said tearfully during his change of plea hearing.

"We would just like the court to take note that the state has not been willing to amend the information to remove the weapon portion out of this," defense attorney Breanna Delorme said. "In order to resolve the matter, my client has agreed to plead guilty pursuant to the way that the information is charged. But he would note that that there was no weapon in his hand at the time of the incident."

The weapon, which was attached to an accomplice to robbery charge, did not enhance the severity of the charge and did not result in any additional jail or probation time, Judge John Thelen said.

In addition to their sentences, each of the three defendants were required to take a chemical dependency evaluation. Suedel and Hofstad are now in outpatient treatment. The evaluation did not recommend chemical dependency treatment for Demontigny.

In his own statement to the court at his sentencing, Hofstad said he is 15 weeks sober.

"The actions I am responsible for are the actions of a 19-year-old drug and alcohol-addicted kid, and I'm no longer that person, nor do I believe this would have happened had I had previous opportunity for treatment and sobriety," he said.

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Demontigny pleaded guilty to burglary and accomplice to robbery with a dangerous weapon.

Hofstad pleaded guilty to burglary, accomplice to robbery, theft of more than $100, accomplice to aggravated assault and possession of five or fewer Adderall pills without a prescription.

Suedel pleaded guilty to burglary, accomplice to robbery and accomplice to aggravated assault.

Busch is facing charges of burglary and accomplice to robbery, and Drougas is facing charges of burglary, accomplice to robbery, theft of more than $100, aggravated assault and terrorizing.

Each of the three defendants sentenced Monday faced a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine for burglary and accomplice to robbery, the most serious of the charges. Each lesser charge carried a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, with the exception of possession of Adderall, which carried a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $2,000 fine.

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