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Two in court after abducting man, threatening to use meat grinder on him



Accused say victim was attempting to break into a residence

WINONA, Minn. — No change in bond for two inmates in the Winona County jail, accused of using butcher equipment to threaten an 19-year-old student they reportedly kept prisoner in a warehouse.

John Demaske, 45 (right, above) and Abdirahman Samatar, 34, made court appearances today in Winona. 

They’ll have separate hearings again in October.  Investigators believe the men took the victim off a street in Winona, suspecting him of stealing from them. 

Demaske told the Star Tribune on Sept. 16, the student “was in my building and not picked off [the] road,” as the victim had explained to police.

The student said Samatar slapped him once or twice, then forced him to stand on a chair and take off all his clothes. They quizzed the victim about some items they believed he stole from them. They told the student he would be sexually assaulted and left him “unsure if he would get out … alive,” the complaint read.

The accuser says he escaped after having to strip naked, and being threatened with a meat saw and a grinder. 

Demaske has told police that he confronted the victim in a building, in the act of trying to break into a residence.


A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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