W’bago man enters guilty plea

BLUE EARTH – Joseph Dean Conklin of Winnebago pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree assault.

On Monday, prosecutor Troy Timmerman said Deb Wiederhoft, Faribault County Victim Services advocate, spoke to the victim and she agrees with the punishment.

Under state law, victims must be contacted so they can have input regarding final sentencing.

Defense attorney William Grogin said on April 21 that his client would plead guilty to second-degree assault, a felony. Other charges, including attempted murder, would be dropped. Under sentencing guidelines, Conklin would be expected to serve 21 months, with credit for time served, about three months.

His sentencing is scheduled for June 9.

During the hearing Monday, Judge Douglas Richards asked Conklin some standard questions, including whether he is a U.S. citizen. Conklin said he was born in Canada, but to the best of his knowledge, he is an American, since he was adopted here.

Richards said the court has to be satisfied of his status. Grogin advised his client that if he is a citizen of Canada, the guilty plea will result in deportation and exclusion from re-entering the United States.

Conklin, 47, held in the Faribault County Jail, was facing three felony counts and a misdemeanor charge stemming from an incident Feb. 6, in which he was accused of trying to strangle and stab a woman after drinking beer.

Count 1 was attempted murder in the second degree, with intent, not premeditated. It carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

Count 2 was assault in the second degree with a dangerous weapon. It carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison, a $14,000 fine or both.

Count 3 was domestic assault by strangulation. It carries a maximum sentence of not more than three years of imprisonment or a fine of $5,000 or both.

Count 4 was domestic assault, misdemeanor. It carries a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine or both.