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Jury finds man not guilty of felony domestic assault

NEW ULM — After deliberation for about an hour May 13, a Brown County District Court jury acquitted a 52-year-old Sleepy Eye man of felony domestic assault by strangulation.

“We knew he was innocent from day one. We’re happy we finally got our day in court,” said Minneapolis defense attorney Thomas M. Beito.

Peter F. Wersal of Sleepy Eye was charged with felony domestic assault by strangulation resulting from an incident on Sept. 29, 2021.

According to the complaint, Sleepy Eye Police officer Elliot Waterbury responded at 9:53 p.m. on that date to a call of a father having issues with a juvenile. Wersal told police there was an incident earlier in the day that police responded to involving his son, the victim, and other juveniles.

Wersal told police his son wasn’t listening to him, and he has sole custody of him. Wersal said his son told him he wanted to go to his mother’s residence. After Wersal refused, his son took off in his vehicle and “dragged” him down the road when Wersal fell out of the vehicle.

Wersal showed police a scrape on his right knee but said he didn’t want to press charges or get him in trouble.

Police later found the juvenile later that evening. The juvenile told police he was upset about the incident earlier in the day and showed officers a red mark on his neck.

He admitted to police that he slapped Wersal in the face. He denied that Wersal was dragged or fell from the vehicle and said Wersal’s scrapes happened when he fell after the son said he pushed him.

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