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Felon faces new charges after failing to appear

Law enforcement picked up a man wanted for missing court appearances in a case from January and the county attorney's office promptly filed new charges for an incident that occurred 18 months ago.

Wayne Joseph Bosto, 30, was picked up last week on a warrant for charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, following an incident in which he attempted to dismantle an illegal firearm while being pursued by authorities.

He was arraigned on new charges of first- and second-degree assault in Duluth District Court Friday -- because the Carlton County judges were away at a conference that day -- for a case dating from June 1, 2012. Assistant County Attorney said the reason for the delay was because the case had originally been sent to the office of the Cloquet City Attorney and had not been turned over to the county for a lengthy period of time.

According to the criminal complaint:

At approximately 2:26 a.m. June 1, 2012, police officers from Cloquet and the Fond du Lac Reservation were called to an apartment on the 1500 block of Whispering Pine Road for a report of a severely injured man who had been assaulted with a baseball bat.

Officers found the victim, then aged 24, lying on the ground in a pool of his own blood. A baseball bat lay on the ground nearby, broken into two pieces. The victim had a severe head injury and it appeared he had been struck over the head with the bat.

After speaking to witnesses, officers learned that Bosto had allegedly been the one who hit the victim with the bat. According to the complaint, the victim received a "massive" head injury requiring numerous stitches and resulting in a concussion. In the aftermath of the injuries, it was also determined that -- as a result of the injuries -- the victim also had a very serious traumatic brain injury (T.B.I.).

"The state contends that the defendant used the bat as a dangerous weapon, intending to inflict grievous bodily harm on the victim," the prosecution wrote in the criminal complaint, noting later that the victim's traumatic brain injury constitutes "great bodily harm and substantial impairment" under Minnesota law.

According to the police report and criminal complaint filed in the previous charges -- illegal possession of a fire arm by a felon and fleeing police -- on Jan. 25, 2013, an officer with the Cloquet Police Department was on routine patrol when he noticed Bosto hitchhiking on the shoulder of Highway 45 at approximately 6:53 p.m. The officer noticed Bosto was carrying a grey sweatshirt and a black duffel bag, and noted that Bosto matched the description from an earlier call of a suspicious male walking through a resident's property.

At that point, the officer pulled his vehicle over to speak with Bosto, who kept shaking his head and didn't appear to be tracking the officer's questioning. Bosto got within 10 to 15 yards of the officer and then slung the bag off his shoulder and set it down and placed his hand inside it. The officer directed Bosto to put down the bag and walk toward him, but Bosto ignored the directive and continued to fumble around in the bag on the side of the road. He then went down on one knee and appeared to be quite focused on getting his hands inside it.

When the officer repeated his directive, Bosto once again ignored him, picked up the bag and pointed it lengthwise at the officer, who in turn drew his handgun and attempted to get cover behind the front of the squad.

Bosto then began backing away from the squad, and when he was some 20-25 yards away, he took off toward the wooded area on the west side of Highway 45.

Other officers who had been summoned to the scene set up a perimeter around the area. Sgt. Casey Rennquist of the Fond du Lac Police was notified and arrived on the scene with a tracking dog. Several officers from various agencies aided in the search for Bosto.

After entering the woods about 20-25 yards, Rennquist's K-9 partner locked on a scent and moments later Bosto was spotted in thick cover near the railroad tracks southeast of Sappi. He was then arrested without incident, and though he didn't have the black bag with him at the time, he was found to have a meth pipe in his possession. He was then transported to the Carlton County Jail.

Officers at the scene then continued the search of the wooded area for the black bag and its contents. Bosto's tracks were visible going into and out of the wooded area, with no other signs of human tracks in the area.

Approximately 60-70 yards into the area, authorities found a green stocking cap lying next to the tracks, and some 40 yards further they located the bottom portion of a Vulcan assault-style rifle partially hidden in the snow next to Bosto's tracks. As officers continued to follow the tracks for another 100 yards or so, they located Bosto's black bag. It was empty except for a phone charger.

The report stated that based on the location of the items found, Bosto likely first dropped the bag and removed the gun and then continued on for about another 100 yards before attempting to bury one portion of the gun.

Conservation Officer Scott Staples was called in the next day with his article-search canine, Schody, along with Rennquist and his K-9, and the two teams searched the area around Bosto's tracks once again for possible drugs or additional weapon parts. Staples soon located the top receiver piece of the rifle, and then Schody zeroed in on a spring and guide buried in the snow that matched the weapon previously seized.

A review of Bosto's legal record revealed that he was ineligible to possess a firearm due to prior felony convictions. The court record shows that Bosto was convicted of first-degree assault and first-degree aggravated robbery in St. Louis County in 2001 and sentenced to 86 months at the Northeast Regional Correctional Center. In 2006, he was convicted of second-degree sale of 3 grams or more of cocaine/heroine/methamphetamine in St. Louis County and sentenced to 68 months.

Bosto also faces charges of misdemeanor domestic assault from a Dec. 26, 2012, incident and misdemeanor disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice from a Jan. 25, 2013, incident.

Bail had previously been set on Bosto at $75,000 and $25,000 consecutively when he failed to appear for court last May. Prior to that, he had bailed out for $50,000 on the Felon in Possession of a firearm charge, which was forfeited on the May date, when Wolf put the $75,000 in place.

"Obviously, you're not going anywhere," Wolf told Bosto. "You've been a walking crime wave so far because you haven't done anything we've asked you to do."

Bosto is now scheduled for his next series of hearings at 10 a.m. on Dec. 23.