Man involved in alleged machete attack pleads not guilty

Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 12:43 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - A man who may have played a part in attacking someone with an unusual weapon denied the charges against him.

34-year-old Vern Janis of Pine Ridge pleaded not guilty during a virtual court appearance on Friday to three felony charges stemming from an alleged assault with a machete.

According to the indictment, Janis assisted Fred Bagola, Jr. in injuring another man with the bladed instrument during an unknown altercation near Pine Ridge on May 23, 2020.

Janis and Bagola are both charged with one count of assault with a dangerous weapon and one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury, but court documents do not suggest whether only one or both of the men injured the man with the weapon. The full extent of the victim’s injuries is also unknown.

The 34-year-old is also accused of a separate charge of accessory after the fact alongside another defendant, Sheree Bagola, for helping Fred avoid his arrest.

Janis was released from court custody on a personal recognizance bond, with Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollmann citing he did not have any notable criminal offenses over the past decade.

If found guilty, Janis faces up to 30 years in prison (if served consecutively) and a $60,000 fine for the assault charges and 5 years in prison with a potential $10,000 fine for the accessory charge.

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