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Victim: Attack sentence 'slap in the face'

Michael Powell

MOORHEAD - Michael Anthony Powell sat quietly Monday as his victim in a July attack urged a stiffer dose of justice than the nearly three years in prison he was ordered to serve.

Powell, 51, of Moorhead, was accused of holding the West Fargo woman against her will for 24 hours, during which she said he beat, raped, stabbed and soaked her in lighter fluid.

If she hadn't escaped, the 46-year-old victim claimed in a statement a prosecutor read at a sentencing hearing in Clay County District Court on Monday, she would have been killed.

She said the prison sentence Powell received struck her as a "slap in the face."

"Please sentence this monster accordingly, before another woman loses her life to him," the victim wrote in the statement.

The woman, who The Forum isn't naming because of the prior allegations of a sexual assault, detailed how she suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, night terrors, constant headaches and some vision and hearing loss from being beaten during the ordeal.

"This was a horrific, violent crime," she said in the statement. "It's impacted my life forever."

After reflecting for a moment, Judge Lisa Borgen called Powell's attack "a very serious incident," and said she agreed with what the victim said. However, Borgen said, she had to adhere to the state sentencing guidelines.

"The court accepted the agreement, and that's all I can do," she said, sentencing Powell to two years and 10 months in prison, with credit for 143 days served.

Powell must also register as a predatory offender and pay restitution to the victim for $6,400, including any other medical expenses that arise over the next 30 days.

Powell pleaded guilty last month to second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, which Assistant Clay County Attorney Pamela Harris said seemed like the best fit for the crime, given evidence and statements from the victim.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, additional charges of criminal sexual conduct and false imprisonment against Powell were dropped.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535