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Bena man charged with attempted murder following stabbing

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A 26-year-old Bena man arrested Sunday for allegedly stabbing another man at a Bena residence was charged Tuesday with attempted second-degree intentional murder and first-degree assault. 

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Thomas Wayne Matthews was charged Tuesday in Cass County District Court in Walker in front of Judge John Smith, Cass County Attorney Christopher Strandlie reported. Unconditional bail was set at $300,000 and conditional bail was set at $200,000. Matthews’ next court date is 1:30 p.m. on May 12. 

According to the criminal complaint filed by Strandlie, about midnight on Saturday Matthews went to a residence in Bena. The homeowner’s son, Wesley Tibbetts, 26, Bena, came outside and told Matthews his father didn’t want him there. Without warning, Matthews stabbed Tibbetts in the chest, Strandlie said. 

Strandlie said Tibbetts told investigators that he and Matthews had previous issues but thought there were no longer any problems between the two. Strandlie said investigators are still trying to determine why Matthews went to the residence and why he stabbed Tibbetts.

“It’s a weird, unprovoked deal,” Strandlie said. “The victim is lucky he didn’t get killed.”

Strandlie said law enforcement had dealt with Matthews earlier in the evening after he had caused problems at another Bena residence. 

Matthews fled the scene and was arrested a short time later. A woman also was arrested with Matthews but Strandlie said there are no charges pending against her at this time. 

Tibbetts was airlifted from a Deer River hospital to St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, where he underwent emergency surgery and on Tuesday was reported in stable condition. 

The case was investigated by the Cass County Sheriff’s Department and the Leech Lake Tribal Police Department. 

MATT ERICKSON may be reached at matt.erickson@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5857.

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Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson joined the Brainerd Dispatch in April 2010 and works as a online reporter, content editor and staff writer. She is a world traveler, accused idealist and California native now braving the winters of Central Minnesota. She believes in the power of human resolve and hopes to be part of something that makes history by bringing an end to injustice in the world. Sarah has worked as a criminal background researcher, high school civics teacher, grant writer, and contributing writer with Causecast.org — tackling every issue from global poverty to bio-degradable bicycles. Her favorite thing about living in Minnesota is July. Sarah left the Brainerd Dispatch in April 2014.
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