WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 25, 2011, 08:19 AM

Fargo man admits to beating elderly landlord with dumbbell

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - A Fargo man has admitted to brutally beating his elderly landlord with a five pound exercise dumbbell. His surprising plea is bringing comfort to his victim, who did not go this hearing, but spoke to us afterward.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

The vicious attack in January left an 82-year old woman with severe injuries. Today's change of plea comes nearly two months after he pleaded not guilty.

In Cass County Court, 41-year old Joel Johansen pleaded guilty to felony aggravated assault. His 100 thousand dollar bail is revoked until sentencing. Johansen put his hand around Carol Wambheim's mouth in a basement laundry room.

He then slammed the dumbbell repeatedly on her skull and face, causing these injuries. It's still not known why Johansen beat Wambheim. Tonight, she says she glad he will get the help he needs and hopes the best for him.

CAROL WAMBHEIM - Victim: “I'm so delighted that he finally faced up to the truth about it. That he finally admitted he's guilty because you always wonder if you're going to have to go and appear in court or you know have to go live through it all over again.

RYAN YOUNGGREN - Cass County Prosecutor: “She was very, very injured by this case and still is suffering from some of the injuries of this and I imagine probably will for her whole life.”

A pre-sentence investigation has been ordered. Johansen will have to get a psychological evaluation before he's sentenced. He faces five years in prison and a five thousand dollar fine.