A Wahpeton man was sentenced this week to five years in the custody of the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He will serve one sentence for four concurrent felony charges.
Jeffrey Mitchell Stevens, 29, appeared in Richland County District Court Monday, Dec. 2. He entered a guilty plea for four felony charges and one misdemeanor charge. Three felony charges and one misdemeanor charge were dismissed that day.
In most cases, fees were waived for Stevens and he was given credit for jail time previously served.
Attorney Don Krassin defended Stevens. Richland County State’s Attorney Casey Moen represented the state of North Dakota. Judge Bradley Cruff presided.
Stevens entered a guilty plea for one class B felony charge of possession of a weapon by an inmate. Through an investigation by the Richland County Sheriff’s Office, he was accused of willfully procuring, making or possessing a shard or weapon, with the intent to be used for an assault on another person or to damage property.
On Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, correctional officers performed a search of Stevens’ cell in the Richland County Jail, Wahpeton. It recovered a 10-inch metal rod with a sharpened point, a metal clip and a piece of metal grating.
Stevens allegedly told a correctional officer that the metal clip came from the library and the metal grate came from the ceiling of his cell. Stevens, court documents state, said he found the metal rod behind a speaker in his cell and was told by a second party to look there.
Random cell checks are periodically performed, Richland County Chief Deputy Gary Ruhl said. Inmates who participate in a work release program are also searched upon returning to the jail. This is done to prevent the obtainment and storage of contraband. Stevens, Ruhl said, was not on a work release program.
Stevens also entered a guilty plea for one class C felony count of aggravated assault. One class C felony count each of reckless endangerment and terrorizing were dismissed. Stevens had initially entered not guilty pleas to all three charges.
Stevens was accused of knowingly causing bodily injury of another with a dangerous weapon or other weapon, willfully creating a substantial risk of serious bodily injury or death to another and placing another human being in fear for their safety or threatening to commit a crime of violence or act dangerous to human life. The Richland County Sheriff’s Office investigated.
The three charges were related to an Aug. 11, 2019 incident in Dwight, North Dakota. A victim went to a residence in the 200 block of Lord Street, looking for Stevens.
Stevens allegedly was with a third party and wielded a firearm at the victim. According to court documents, he went at the victim with the firearm, pointing it at their head and choking them with it. The firearm discharged during the incident.
“(The victim) was able to get away from the defendant and heard another shot go off,” documents state.
The victim got into their vehicle, left the residence and reported the incident to law enforcement. According to court documents, they were afraid for their life.
Stevens also entered a guilty plea for one class C felony charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The charge was related to the Aug. 11, 2019 incident, according to court documents.
Stevens was accused of having a firearm in his possession or control less than five years after the date that he was convicted of a felony offense. The Richland County Sheriff’s Office investigated.
“The defendant pleaded guilty to failure to register as a sexual offender in Richland County in January 2018,” court documents state.
A class A misdemeanor charge of criminal trespassing, related to an alleged Aug. 12, 2019 incident at the location where the Aug. 11 incidents occurred, was dismissed.
A resident informed a Richland County Sheriff’s Deputy that Stevens entered the Lord Street house without their permission. According to the resident, Stevens was previously informed that he wasn’t allowed inside the house.
Stevens had previously entered not guilty pleas to the firearm possession and criminal trespassing charges.
On Dec. 2, 2019, Judge Cruff issued an amended order revoking Stevens’ probation for two class C felony charges of failure to register as a sexual offender. Both charges were related to incidents investigated by the Wahpeton Police Department in November 2017.
In January 2018, Stevens entered a guilty plea to one charge. The other was dismissed.
Finally, Stevens entered a guilty plea to one class B misdemeanor theft of property charge on Dec. 2, 2019. He was accused of twice knowingly taking or exercising unauthorized control over the property of another with the intent to deprive the owner. The Richland County Sheriff’s Office investigated.
While an inmate in the Richland County Jail, Stevens allegedly entered a second inmate’s cell on Sept. 4 and Sept. 16, 2019. Both times, documents continue, Stevens took a phone card valued at $100 before using the card.
In each situation, Stevens allegedly never received permission to have the phone cards. He was ordered to pay $150 in restitution to the victim.
Stevens has appeared multiple times in Richland County District Court over the last decade, according to records.
In January 2010, he entered a guilty plea for one class C felony charge of burglary. He was sentenced to 365 days in the Richland County Jail, receiving a suspended sentence of 347 days and credit for 18 days served, and was ordered to pay fees and restitution.
In August 2011, Stevens was found guilty for class B misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer.
In September 2013, he entered a guilty plea for one class B misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief. He faced five class C felony charges of terrorizing, although four were dismissed. Stevens was sentenced to five years in the custody of the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, receiving a suspended sentence of four years, 305 days and two years probation.
An amended order in November 2014 sentenced Stevens to the custody of Corrections and Rehabilitation for two years. That same month, he entered a guilty plea to one class C felony count of correction or solicitation of minors.
In addition to his recent charges, Stevens entered a guilty plea for failure to register as a sexual offender in July 2017.
Stevens is currently confined in the Richland County Jail.