November 12, 2013

The Carroll County attorney does not have enough evidence that a 55-year-old Lanesboro man is culpable for the viscous September beating of a neighbor, court records show.

County Attorney John Werden asked a judge last week to dismiss four felony charges against Ricky Blair, the most serious of which is punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

Werden said in a court document that he cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt - the legal standard that judges and juries use to convict accused criminals - that Blair was one of three men who pushed their way into a house in the 200 block of North Fourth Street in Lanesboro on Sept. 1 and assaulted two people.

One of the alleged victims, David Warnke, 28, was beaten with a firearm and a piece of counter top, court records show. The assault broke out some of his teeth and fractured several bones in his face.

Blair claimed he acted in self-defense in the alleged attack, according to court records.

A judge has yet to rule on Werden's dismissal request.

The two other men accused of the beating, Luke Clark, 41, of Yetter, and Mitchell Blair, 41, of Vail, still face the felony charges for burglary, willful injury and assault, which have a total possible punishment of up to 50 years in prison. Their trials are set for next month.