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Jury finds man acted in self-defense in bloody melee

A jury in Becker County District Court has acquitted a Ponsford man accused of stabbing one man in the face and cutting another in the face and arm.

Lukas Devlen Fineday, 20, of Ponsford was charged with felony first-degree assault - great bodily harm.

According to court records, on June 28, 2016, law enforcement officers responded to a residence on Waboose Drive on the report of a stabbing.

They found a man being treated in an ambulance, with a large bandage under his chin soaked in blood.

Witnesses said Fineday had come to the house with a number of other people. He sat down at a table with the man and started asking about a stolen cell phone. Fineday then allegedly stabbed the man in the face-chin area.

When another man in the room tried to grab Fineday, he allegedly started swinging the knife, cutting the second man in the face and arm before fleeing the residence.

It appears a large amount of blood was lost in the house. Law enforcement officers saw a large amount of blood throughout the house as well as a blood-soaked towel used to control the bleeding. The first man was taken by air ambulance to Essentia Hospital in Fargo, where he remained unconscious for several days.

Police pulled over Fineday a short ways away from the scene. There was blood on his hands and blood in the driver's area of the vehicle.

A jury found him innocent on April 26. Defense attorney Andrew Berger successfully argued that he acted in self-defense, and sought to submit evidence of gang affiliation on the part of the victim and witnesses. District Judge Jay Carlson presided over the trial.

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