Trial begins for Sawyer man accused of domestic assault

Jamin Paul Beardsley faces charges of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon and domestic assault with the intent to cause fear.

File: Carlton County Jail aerial
The Carlton County Courthouse (left) and jail in Carlton.
Steve Kuchera / 2019 file / Pine Journal
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CARLTON — The trial began Wednesday, Aug. 24, for a Sawyer man accused of threatening a woman with a gun at his home in November 2019.

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Jamin Paul Beardsley

Jamin Paul Beardsley, 46, has been charged with second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, a felony; and domestic assault with intent to cause fear, a gross misdemeanor. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 7 years in prison, up to $14,000 in fines, or both on the felony charge; and up to one year of imprisonment, up to $3,000 in fines, or both for the gross misdemeanor.

Beardsley failed to appear for court in April 2021 and spent over a year evading law enforcement before he was arrested May 28. He has also been charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct stemming from a separate incident.

After a jury was selected, opening arguments began Wednesday. Nicole Ketola, an attorney for Carlton County, outlined the accuser's story to the jury.

"He intended to scare her, and he was successful," she said. "Just by aiming the weapon he committed a crime."


Joanna Wiegert, Beardsley's attorney, said the woman took advantage of a situation that was normal and explainable.

"When you see that evidence you'll find the state can't prove (guilt)," Wiegert said.

The woman took the stand as the trial's first witness. Ketola asked her to recount the events that took place in November 2019.

According to the woman, she was friends with Beardsley's wife. She needed a place to stay in July 2019, and she was able to rent a room at Beardsley's house in Sawyer. The woman said Beardsley and his wife would often argue and that Beardsley would use vulgar language toward the accuser.

After a night of arguing, the woman said Beardsley's wife woke her up and asked to be driven to a friend's house.

Once she had dropped off Beardsley's wife, the woman returned to the Sawyer home where she said Beardsley was drunk. He allegedly put a gun in front of the woman's face and said she ruined his family.

Ketola asked the woman how the incident affected her. She said she didn't like going out in public anymore because she was not sure if she would run into Beardsley.

"It perpetuated a lot of my trauma and made me more anxious," she said.


Wiegert asked the woman about information she provided law enforcement, and the fact she did not call law enforcement after the event.

According to the woman's testimony, she packed a bag after the alleged incident and went to her parents' house. She said she spoke to the parents of Beardsley's wife the next morning and called 911 that day.

Wiegert also said no one, including Beardsley and his wife, had been drinking, contrary to the woman's testimony that Beardsley and his wife were drunk.

The woman said that Beardsley mentioned suicide during the alleged incident, and Wiegert asked why the woman didn't consider the safety of Beardsley's two children, who were at the home when she decided to leave.

The woman said that after the alleged incident, which lasted for roughly 30 seconds, her fight-or-flight response kicked in and all she could think about was getting out of the house quickly and safely.

The trial will continue Thursday, Aug. 25, with law enforcement and Beardsley's wife set to testify.

Dylan covers the local governments of Cloquet and Carlton County, as well as the Esko and Wrenshall school boards for the Cloquet Pine Journal.
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