Two charged in St. Hilaire assault case

Guadalupe Francisco Peralta

by April Scheinoha

    Two local men have been formally charged for their alleged roles in assaulting two other men Monday morning in St. Hilaire. A third man was arrested Wednesday night. One victim was allegedly able to identify one of the assailants after his mask came off.
    Guadalupe Francisco Peralta, 27, Thief River Falls, has been charged with felony offenses of first degree burglary, aggravated robbery, second degree assault (two counts) and third degree assault (two counts). James Richard Shaugabay, 26, St. Hilaire, has been charged with a felony offense of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Both men were arrested Monday night. They made their initial court appearances Wednesday. Both men are scheduled to appear in court again early next week.
    John Wayne Balderston, 40, Thief River Falls, was arrested Wednesday night in the case. He has charges pending for felony offenses of first degree burglary, first degree aggravated robbery, second degree assault and third degree assault.
    Pennington County Sheriff Ray Kuznia expects more arrests in the case. In an interview earlier this week, he said there was no threat to the public.
    The charges stemmed from a 911 call Monday at 9:23 a.m., according to the sheriff’s office. The caller reported that several people had assaulted two men at a home in a St. Hilaire mobile home court.
    A sheriff’s investigator arrived to find a victim lying on the sidewalk. A large amount of blood was coming from his head. He identified Peralta as one of the assailants, saying that Peralta’s mask came off during the assault.
    The investigator saw marks on the second man’s head. The roommates had been assaulted with an assault-style gun and some type of wrench, according to court documents. In an earlier interview, Kuznia said the men were treated and released from Sanford Medical Center in Thief River Falls. A complaint indicated that some cash had been stolen after the assaults.
    Both men said they were sleeping when several people entered their home. One man was asleep on the couch when the people began assaulting him. At one point, he threw one of the assailants, causing damage at the home.
    The other man was asleep in a bedroom when he awoke to the commotion. He was later hit numerous times on the top of his head.
    The investigator learned that a neighbor had a surveillance system. He saw a white Chevy Equinox on the surveillance tape.
    A sheriff’s deputy obtained surveillance video from Kruse In, which showed a white Chevy Equinox driving on the grass behind the mobile home court. The vehicle then traveled westbound on Center Street. Kuznia and Thief River Falls Police Chief Dick Wittenberg located the suspect vehicle at Shaugabay’s residence.
    A search warrant was executed for Shaugabay’s rental home and garage at 12099 Center St. E., St. Hilaire, according to the complaints. Inside the garage, law enforcement found a white Chevy Equinox with blood on the bumper. A rag was used to conceal the license plate number, and a mask was found inside the vehicle. Also in the garage, law enforcement found an assault-style shotgun and multiple clothing items, all of which had blood on them. Law enforcement located Shaugabay, Peralta and a third man in the residence.
    The vehicle was registered to a woman, who initially told law enforcement that her vehicle was parked in a garage since Sunday evening. Later, she allegedly said the third man had driven her to the casino and then left with her vehicle. No charges had been filed against either of those two individuals as of Thursday morning.