A Burnsville man has been arrested after a harrowing attack on a woman in her home.
Patrick Joseph Spears, 27, has been charged with second-degree assault, a felony that carries a minimum sentence of one year and one day in prison. The maximum sentence is seven years of incarceration and a $14,000 fine. He also faces charges of terroristic threats and domestic assault by strangulation, both felonies.
The charges stem from an incident on Feb. 20. According to the criminal complaint against Spears, officers from the Burnsville Police Department were called to an apartment building at 1 a.m. Once on the scene, they found the victim, a woman, seated in her car with her dogs. The woman was covered in red marks of various sizes and shapes, with welts on her face, head, neck, arms and back. Police also noted "red coloring" in her hair and on the back of her head, and an apparent bite mark on her back.
The woman said she'd come home at about 10:15 p.m. on Feb. 19 and found her ex, Spears, inside her apartment. She was surprised to see him there, and was unsure how he got into the building, though she added that she had left her apartment unlocked because she only planned to be away for a few hours. Spears was clearly intoxicated, she said, and smelled of alcohol.
The woman said that after she saw Spears, he immediately became enraged for some unknown reason and began berating her. According to the victim, he started pushing her around, wrestled her to the ground and then began slapping and punching her in the face and head. She covered her face to keep her nose from being broken. Then, he got up and kicked her several times in the back, causing her pain in the ribs.
Spears had a knife, she said, and told her he would stab her. He ordered her to lie down. She complied, and Spears continued to kick her and punch her in the face and head. Then he choked her until she was unable to breathe, and tried to tear out her throat his hands.
At some point, Spears forced her into the bedroom and onto the bed because he thought he heard something outside the apartment. Once in the bedroom, Spears brandished two knives, which he swung at her as if he was going to stab her.
Eventually, Spears fell asleep. The woman attempted an escape, but he heard her moving about in the living room. Spears became very angry, she said, and grabbed yet another knife, bringing the total on his person to three. She said he also stepped up the assault, pulling her hair and striking her again, this time harder than before. Then he choked her until she lost consciousness. When she came to, Spears had wrestled her to the floor again and was instructing her to lie down. He threatened to kill her and began a count down on his fingers: The woman said Spears would count from one to three and then punch her hard in the sternum and stomach. She attempted to cover up and turned so he wouldn't hit her face. This continued for about 30 minutes, until Spears went to get a soda. He reiterated that if she got up he would kill her.
After he had helped himself to some soda, he ordered her into the bedroom for a second time. At this point, the woman said she firmly believed that she would be killed. Spears allegedly put the knife to her face, touched it to her leg, arm and fingers. Then he began swinging the knife around her prone body, into the ground next to her and into the sheets of the bed. He also tore up her chiropractic table with the knife. Police later found the shredded bed clothes and mangled table.
Once again, however, exhaustion or intoxication bested Spears and he fell asleep. The woman took the opportunity to flee the apartment and call police. The victim said she took her dogs with her because she feared for their safety.
The BPD eventually found Spears outside, after a manhunt with the assistance of a police dog. He exercised the right to remain silent when questioned.
Spears was convicted of third-degree assault after a similar incident in March of 2012 involving the same woman, for which he was sentenced to a $300 fine, five years of probation and 180 days of local confinement, with credit for 88 days already served.
In a letter to the judge presented at his sentencing hearing, Spears painted himself as a new man. A jail official writing on his behalf said that he had enrolled in a program called Inmates Motivated to Change and had completed an anger management course. The official also noted that he was attending parenting skills classes, chemical dependency treatment, domestic abuse prevention, and Bible study.
For his part, Spears expressed remorse for the March 2012 attack and the "embarrassment and humiliation" it caused him, as well as the mental and physical anguish suffered by the victim. He reassured the court that he had turned over a new leaf.
"With my time here in jail I have been able to lay a solid foundation for my recovery and have fully committed myself to staying sober," Spears wrote in the letter, dated June 20, 2012. "I want to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again."
Spears remains in custody at the Dakota County Jail. His first appearance in court is scheduled for Wednesday.