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Fargo man gets prison time after 'act of kindness' leads to assault

Kenneth Lee Demarce

FARGO — A 52-year-old Fargo man has been sentenced to four years in prison on charges stemming from a violent encounter with two other people in December 2017.

Cass County District Judge Steven Marquart sentenced Kenneth Lee Demarce Monday, Feb. 4, on one felony count of aggravated assault, two felony counts of terrorizing with a dangerous weapon and one misdemeanor count of simple assault.

Demarce must serve two years of supervised probation after his prison sentence. He received credit for having already spent 231 days in jail.

A felony count of gross sexual imposition against Demarce was dismissed at Monday's hearing, and he entered Alford pleas on the remaining four charges. An Alford plea is when a defendant doesn’t admit guilt but acknowledges there's enough evidence for a judge or jury to reach a guilty verdict.

According to court documents:

On Dec. 17, police were asked to check on one of the victims, a woman, and found her in her apartment with bruises to her face and other injuries. Police saw signs of a struggle in the apartment, and the woman, who said she was suffering from memory loss, was taken to a Fargo hospital.

A police investigation revealed the woman and a man went to downtown Fargo on Dec. 14 to "perform an act of kindness to a homeless person," and they met Demarce. The three went to the VFW bar and walked back to the woman’s apartment.

The woman told police she remembered picking up a homeless person to give shelter for the night and recalled the three of them at her apartment. She said Demarce forced her to undress in the bathroom and tried to have intercourse with her, and held a knife under her throat at one point, court documents said.

The male companion told police he and Demarce were involved in an altercation where Demarce punched him several times in the head before he was able to leave the apartment, court documents said.

Demarce told police there was an argument at the woman’s apartment where the man tried to fight him. He said the woman came at him with a knife and he hit her several times, court documents said.

Demarce told police he acted in self-defense, believing the man and woman were trying to rob him. Demarce said the woman came onto him and they ended up in the bathroom where they kissed, but the woman denied she ever kissed Demarce, court documents said.