Ili Found Guilty of Two Assault Counts - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Ili Found Guilty of Two Assault Counts

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Jesse Ili was found guilty of two felonies Friday in Northwest District Court Jesse Ili was found guilty of two felonies Friday in Northwest District Court

The trial of a man accused of assaulting two Minot police officers ended today.

Jesse Ili wiped away tears as the verdicts in his assault and drug case were read this afternoon.

(Voice of Court Clerk) "Find the defendant Jesse Devon Ili guilty of the offense of simple assault on a peace officer."

Jurors in the case found him guilty of two felonies and three misdemeanors, although they shied away from another felony conviction.

Ili was convicted of assaulting Minot Police Officer Erik Laudenschlager as he tried to arrest the former MSU football linebacker.

He was also convicted of a felony for preventing arrest because he was assaulting Officer Brandon Schmitt as he tried to control Ili.

Jurors however decided against a felony conviction for his attack on Officer Schmitt, finding him guilty of a lesser misdemeanor assault charge.

Ili was found guilty of fleeing and possession of marijuana, but not guilty of using marijuana.

The incident stemmed from a call to police on August 30th that several men were in an SUV smoking marijuana in a north Minot neighborhood.

Officers Laudenschlager and Schmitt responded and Ili avoided arrest and took off running.

That led to the altercations with the two officers.

In closing arguments this morning, State's Attorney Roza Larson said all of the injuries and problems happened because Ili, sitting in the back seat of the SUV, was afraid that he'd be found with a bag of marijuana in his right pants pocket.

(Roza Larson, Ward County State's Attorney) "The only person that knew this was in his right pocket until the end of the day was the defendant. That was his intent. That was his motive for running. That was his motive for beating up Brandon and Erik, to get away from this."

In his closing argument, defense attorney Andrew Schultz zeroed in on the aggravated assault charge.

He said the stories of the two officers were inconsistent and couldn't support the felony charge.

(Andrew Schultz, Attorney For Jesse Ili) "Brandon says he lost consciousness. But if you recall I showed him his police report and it says otherwise. It says I was semi-unconscious for a short period of time. But he agreed that was open to interpretation. And one of those interpretations obviously is that he didn't actually lose consciousness

In the end, jurors agreed that the aggravated assault felony count was not proper, but convicted Ili of assault, a Class-A misdemeanor regarding Schmitt.

Each of the two Class-C felony convictions carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

The judge ordered a pre-sentence investigation in the case.

Ili was taken into custody and is being held at the Ward County Jail.

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