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Two plead not guilty in assault case

The two North Dakota men who allegedly assaulted a man on Thanksgiving Day in Jamestown have pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated assault.

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Shawn Laber, 26, Mohall, N.D., appeared in Southeast District Court here Thursday at a preliminary hearing/arraignment on charges of aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault. Laber waived the preliminary hearing and pleaded not guilty to both Class C felony charges in the arraignment held immediately after the preliminary hearing.

Laber is in the Stutsman County Correctional Center on a $1,000 cash bond.

Ernest CastilloErnest Castillo, 35, 734 11th St. NE No. 5, appeared in court on the same charges on Jan. 2. A preliminary hearing was held, and Castillo pleaded not guilty to the aggravated assault charge at the arraignment that followed. Judge Thomas Merrick dismissed the conspiracy to commit charge as he found there was no probable cause.

Castillo is free on a personal recognizance bond.

The maximum penalty for a Class C felony is five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Shawn LaberCourt documents said Laber and Castillo were involved in an altercation with a 36-year-old Jamestown man around 4 p.m. on Nov. 28 at a residence in southeast Jamestown. The man was dating a former girlfriend of Castillo, according to court documents, and he went to the resident to talk with Castillo about “threatening statements” Castillo allegedly made about the man. When the man arrived, Castillo and Laber allegedly attacked the victim with Laber allegedly hitting the man while holding a steak knife, causing a small wound on his neck, court documents said.

Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at

Chris Olson

Hometown: Traverse City, MI College: Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University

(701) 952-8454