Six total charges for defendant in drugs, terrorizing case

Leanders Payne

A Wahpeton man arrested for allegedly discharging a firearm within the city faces additional charges in Richland County District Court.

Leanders Anthony Payne, 26, made his initial appearance in district court Monday, Aug. 31. He is scheduled to appear Thursday, Sept. 3 in Wahpeton Municipal Court.

Payne faces six total city and district-level charges: possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver or manufacture (class B felony); terrorizing and aggravated assault (each a class C felony); possession of a Schedule II controlled substance (class A misdemeanor); discharge of a firearm within the city (class B misdemeanor); and unlawful possession of marijuana paraphernalia (infraction).

Through an investigation of the Wahpeton Police Department and Southeast Multi-County Agency (SEMCA) drug task force, Payne is accused of allegedly willfully possessing marijuana, a Schedule I controlled substance, with the intent to deliver.

On Thursday, Aug. 27, the police department requested assistance from SEMCA at Payne’s residence, located in the 1200 block of 16th Avenue North. Officers were investigating the firearm’s discharge.

“A firearm was brandished and a shot was fired,” Wahpeton Police Chief Scott Thorsteinson said previously. “The shot did not strike anybody. It went out a window of the apartment building, although its exact location is unknown.”

Thorsteinson confirmed Payne was the person who brandished the firearm, Daily News previously reported. Wahpeton police seized an AR-15 rifle and several loaded magazines.

Based upon a victim statement, eyewitness statements and an investigation by Wahpeton police, Payne is also accused of allegedly placing another human being in fear for his or her safety, or, in reckless disregard for the risk of causing such terror, threatening to commit a crime of violence or act dangerous to human life, as well as allegedly willfully firing a firearm at another human being.

The victim, court documents state, called Richland County Dispatch on Thursday, Aug. 27. They reported being attacked and shot at by an individual identified as Payne. The victim told a Wahpeton officer that they and Payne were arguing when Payne told them to leave.

Payne allegedly grabbed a gun, pointed it at the victim while they were gathering clothes and fired it once. According to the victim, the gun fired out an open window, but they were told to leave “or next time (I) won’t miss.”

An officer observed that the victim appeared to be in shock about the incident, documents continue. Several neighbors interviewed said they heard a loud noise that sounded like a gunshot. An officer observed what appeared to be a round exit hole in the bedroom window of Payne’s residence.

“(The victim) identified an AR-15 rifle found inside the defendant’s residence as the gun that the defendant fired,” documents continue.

A Wahpeton officer also observed what appeared to be a marijuana smoking device in Payne’s residence, according to documents. Occupants of the residence did not have valid marijuana registration cards from the state of North Dakota. A search warrant was obtained and the residence was searched.

“During the search, officers seized the following from a bedroom: a glass jar containing a green, leafy substance believed to be marijuana, with an approximate weight of 27 grams; a black zip up bag containing a green, leafy substance believed to be marijuana, with an approximate weight of 10 grams, including package weight; a zip top baggie containing numerous other zip top baggies; and $50 in U.S. currency,” documents continue.

A digital scale was also seized from the residence’s kitchen. Court documents state that a stimulant, a Schedule II controlled substance, as well as marijuana paraphernalia, were found in a vehicle operated by Payne.

Richland County Assistant State’s Attorney Casey Moen represents the prosecution in the district-level case. A defense attorney has not yet been named for either the city or district-level cases. A prosecutor has not yet been named for the city case. Judge Don Krassin will preside in Wahpeton Municipal Court. Judge Bradley Cruff presides in Richland County District Court.

During Payne’s initial appearance in district court, Judge Cruff entered not guilty pleas for the misdemeanor and infraction controlled substance and paraphernalia charges. Cruff also ordered that Payne undergo drug testing and have no contact with the victim. Bail was set at $10,000 cash or surety.

The maximum penalty for a class B felony is 10 years imprisonment, a $20,000 fine, or both. The maximum penalty for a class C felony is five years imprisonment, a $10,000 fine, or both.

The maximum penalty for a class A misdemeanor is 360 days imprisonment, a $3,000 fine, or both. The maximum penalty for a class B misdemeanor is 30 days imprisonment, a $1,500 fine, or both. The maximum penalty for an infraction is a $1,000 fine.

Payne is currently confined in the Richland County Jail.

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