WDAY: The News Leader

Published November 22, 2011, 10:08 PM

Victim of attack calls sentence "slap in the face"

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - The victim is calling it a "slap in the face" after a judge sentenced a Moorhead man to just less than 3 years in prison.

The victim is calling it a "slap in the face" after a judge sentenced a Moorhead man to just less than 3 years in prison. Michael Powell took a plea deal, agreeing to second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. But it could have been more, if the state didn't drop charges of false imprisonment and first degree criminal sexual conduct

Powell was accused in July of holding a West Fargo woman against her will for 24 hours, during which the victim said he beat, raped, stabbed and soaked her in lighter fluid. But as one Clay County Attorney told us today, it's not about what did or did not happen, it's about what you can prove in the court of law.

Pamela Harris – Clay County Assitant Attorney: “I can't go to trial on charges I don't believe I can prove beyond a reasonable doubt, had it gone to trial, the only charge we would've went to trial would've been second-degree assault.”

The prosecuting attorney in the case, Pamela Harris, did not wish for her face to be shown during the interview for safety and privacy reasons. Harris says conflicting statements from both parties prevented her from proceeding with the other two charges. As for the sentence, she's not satisfied.

Pamela Harris: “I don't think that 34 months for what he did is enough. Unfortunately my hands are tied by the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines.”

In Minnesota, people are sentenced based on the severity of the crime they committed, as well as their previous criminal history, the sentence is then determined based on this grid.

Pamela Harris: “Although we like the consistency, it would be nice to have more flexibility in cases such as this, where there is more than your normal stabbing.”

In a statement read in court, the victim said the incident has "impacted her life forever," and called the 34 month sentence, "a slap in the face."

Pamela Harris: “I understand her point of view when she says this was a slap in the face because it doesn't seem like it was enough and I agree with her, it's not enough for what he did.”

Powell will have a credit of 143 days already served. Harris says with good behavior, he'll be released after two-thirds of his sentence, meaning Powell could be out as early as May, 2013.