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Man faces manslaughter charges in Cloquet

A Cloquet man faces manslaughter charges following a fight in his apartment.

Joel Ammesmaki, 58, was charged with first-degree manslaughter Thursday in Sixth District Carlton County Court, “causing the death of another while committing assault in the fifth degree with such force and violence” that death or great harm was “reasonably foreseeable.”

Officers from the Cloquet and Fond du Lac police departments responded to a 9-1-1 call at approximately 2:09 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, reporting an unwanted person in an apartment inside the Fond du Lac Veterans Supportive Housing building.

According to the criminal complaint:

Joel Jay Ammesmaki reported that he got in a fight with another male and wanted him removed from his apartment. When officers arrived, they observed Ammesmaki standing near a couch and an unresponsive male laying face up on the ground with dried blood around his nostrils. The male was unresponsive, that his eyes were partially open and he was not breathing. Officers began lifesaving measures and called for medics. Paramedics responded to the scene, attempted to provide care and informed officers that the male was deceased.

During this period, Ammesmaki allegedly became distraught and made statements that it wasn’t supposed to go this way and made statements while the officers were attempting medical care that he had punched the man in the face while they were fighting. Officers cleared and sealed the apartment. Defendant was detained in a squad car and then transported to the police station.

In the squad car and in an interview room at the police station, Ammesmaki made more unprompted statements discussing what happened. He said he and the deceased were drinking together and watched the football game and a movie. At some point, the deceased had called him the name of another resident at the housing complex and attempted to punch him but did not make contact. Ammesmaki allegedly punched the man twice and he fell down. Ammesmaki thought he was sleeping, according to the report.

Officers collected security footage from the complex showing Ammesmaki and the deceased allegedly entered Ammesmaki’s apartment at 12:34 a.m. Ammesmaki then left his apartment and approached the security office at 1:29 a.m. before returning to his apartment, and again at 1:40 a.m. The footage shows Ammesmaki left his apartment a third time and knocked on the door of another apartment at 1:42 a.m. before returning to his apartment. Officers arrived on scene at 2:11 a.m. No other persons were observed to enter or exit the apartment during this period.

Ammesmaki’s next hearing is set for Sept. 27.