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Man charged with alleged knife assault

WINDOM -- Frank Bert Reffitt, 32, of Mountain Lake, will make his initial appearance in Cottonwood County District Court Monday on a charge of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. That charge stems from an alleged attack with a knife upon another man.

The criminal complaint states Reffitt, who has a criminal background that includes a variety of convictions in multiple counties, got in a fight with the victim at the man's home.

When an officer arrived at the scene at approximately 8:50 p.m. Jan. 14, Reffitt was in his vehicle in front of the man's house. Reffitt allegedly exited the vehicle and walked toward the back of the victim's house, so the officer yelled for him to get to the ground. He was placed in handcuffs and put in the officer's squad car.

Reffitt told the officer he and the victim had been arguing over Facebook about the victim's girlfriend, and when he walked in the house, the man punched him, grabbed his throat and came toward him with a 12-inch knife. Reffitt said they were fighting over the knife when the victim grabbed the blade and cut his hand, then lunged forward and ended up getting poked in the throat with the blade.

The officer spoke with the victim, who said he had invited Reffitt over to resolve their differences. Reffitt "got in his face" right away, he said, and pulled a white-handled 6 inch paring knife. He showed the officer the cut on his hand, and said he had tried grabbing the knife from Reffitt. The officer also noted fresh red marks on the victim's throat.

A witness in the house said she was there when Reffitt came over. She said Reffitt had started the fight as soon as he arrived, pushing the victim and grabbing his throat. Reffitt had taken the knife out of his pocket, she stated, and the two had fought over the weapon.

The officer found a knife matching the description Reffitt had given him on the top of the refrigerator. The knife had a dust and some blood handle, but there was no dust on the blade, the officer noted.

Both Reffitt and the victim were arrested.

The following day, the officer spoke again with Reffitt, who allegedly admitted there was another knife involved. He said he was assaulted right after he entered the house, when the victim pinned him against the wall and choked him. The man, Reffitt said, was talking about having guns and killing him. Reffitt told the officer her noticed the big knife and the small knife on the table. He said he got scared and grabbed the smaller of the two, telling the man to back off. The other man then grabbed the big knife and they struggled. He said he dropped the knife and left the house, adding that the officer could search his car and wouldn't find it.

The officer spoke again with the victim, who said only the small knife was involved in the fight. He said the bigger knife had blood on it because after Reffitt left, he had locked the door and secured the larger knife by placing it on top of the fridge.

When the officer searched Refit's vehicle, he found a steak knife under the front passenger seat. The victim identified the knife as the one Reffitt had allegedly used.

Reffitt has criminal convictions in Blue Earth and Watonwan counties for charges ranging from disorderly conduct to burglary to malicious punishment of a child. He is currently on probation and owes the courts more than $1,300 in fees and fines.

Readers may reach Daily Globe reporter Justine Wettschreck

at 376-7322.