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Commitment hearing continued for Hills man

LUVERNE -- Nicholas Shawn Klein, 38, of Hills, made an appearance in Rock County District Court Monday afternoon and admitted to the probable cause for a civil commitment hearing.

During the brief court hearing, Klein's court appointed attorney, Terry Vajgrt, said he spent considerable time speaking with his client regarding his right to a hearing based on the allegations against him.

"He has been served with the petition, and we focused on his right to a hearing based on the allegations," Vajgrt told Judge Timothy Connell.

A petition for judicial commitment was filed late last week in Rock County, the same day Klein was charged with burglary, assault and terroristic threats stemming from an alleged assault on an elderly couple in their yard.

The criminal complaint states Klein attacked the elderly man without provocation, punching and kicking him until the man's wife tried to intervene.

A witness told authorities Klein then began to hit the woman, keeping them both on the ground with kicks and punches.

It wasn't until the witness honked her horn to summon help that Klein ceased his attack, she reported.

According to several sources, Klein has allegedly been harassing the elderly couple, his neighbors, for quite some time, with incidents escalating over the years.

A pending disorderly conduct charge from April 2010 resulted in conditions of release that include no contact with the victims, the same couple.

Klein was released on his own recognizance following the April incident, but his alleged attack on the couple last week ended in a 72-hour hold in a Sioux Falls, S.D., hospital for evaluation of his mental state.

"For the purposes of this hearing today, the sole issue is whether he will remain on hold," Vajgrt stated, adding that Klein will be kept in custody at the hospital until the commitment hearing.

Accompanied by a Rock County deputy, Klein sat quietly during the brief court appearance and allowed the deputy to put handcuffs back on him without comment once the hearing had concluded.

The commitment hearing is scheduled for next Monday.