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Two men charged with attempted murder, kidnapping

Travis Richard Paquette (left) and Sheldon James Armstrong III

CASS LAKE, MN -- A Bemidji man and a Cass Lake man accused of stabbing, tying up and trying to drive over another man were arraigned Monday in Cass County District Court on first-degree attempted murder, kidnapping and other charges.

The men allegedly met up with their victim Friday morning and assaulted and stabbed him, attempted to drive over him with his own truck and then stole the vehicle.

Travis Richard Paquette, 18, of Bemidji, and Sheldon James Armstrong III, 22, of Cass Lake, were arrested Friday after law enforcement located the stolen vehicle.

About 2:45 a.m. on Friday a Cass County Sheriff’s Office deputy responded to a report of an assault near Cass Lake, according to a criminal complaint. The deputy found the victim sitting on a chair covered in blood.

The victim knew Armstrong and was able to identify the second man, Paquette, who is believed to be Armstrong’s brother, through a photo lineup, court documents stated.

The victim said Armstrong had contacted him Thursday and asked to meet at a gas station for a ride to go purchase some marijuana, according to the complaint. The victim picked up Armstrong and Paquette and drove to a remote location, where at approximately 12:45 a.m. Friday, the three exited the vehicle and walked down a trail and was beaten and stabbed, his hands tied and loaded into his truck. Paquette drove and Armstrong threatened the victim’s life, according to the complaint.

At one point, the victim was placed in the middle of the road and his assailants drove at him at a high rate of speed, according to the criminal complaint. The victim said he was able to roll out of the way and took off running to the residence where officers located him.

The victim’s truck was found at Cass Lake residence with blood visible in the box and on the seat. Paquette was arrested while walking about two blocks away and Armstrong was arrested at a residence near Cass Lake.

Armstrong and Paquette are scheduled for court in Cass County on Aug. 11. Both face identical charges, which carry maximum penalties of 20 years in prison for first-degree attempted murder, 40 years in prison and a $50,000 fine for kidnapping, 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine for second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon and five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for theft of a motor vehicle.

Conditions for release for Armstrong and Paquette were set at $100,000 unconditional bail or $75,000 with conditions.

Crystal Dey
Crystal Dey covers crime, courts, tribal relations and social issues for The Bemidji Pioneer in Bemidji, Minnesota. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey has worked for the Echo Press in Alexandria, Minnesota, The Forum in Fargo, North Dakota, The Tampa Tribune in Tampa, Florida, the Hartford Courant in Hartford and West Hartford News in West Hartford, Connecticut. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.
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