BARRON COUNTY -- The man charged in the burglary and arson of the Cumberland, WI Don Johnson Collision Center appeared for a hearing on April 23, 2020, and changed his previous plea of Not Guilty to Guilty on some of the charges filed against him following the December 2019 burglary and arson that caused the Collision Center estimated damages in excess of $600,000.

DrydenWire.com reported previously that Hienok Demessie of Otsego, MN was facing criminal charges following an investigation by Law Enforcement into the fire and burglary of the Don Johnson Collision Center that was discovered by an employee of the business in the early morning hours of December 17, 2019. Demessie was also charged with the theft of a vehicle from the business property.

A criminal complaint was filed charging Demessie with Class C Felony Arson of Building, 2 counts of Class F Felony Burglary of Building or Dwelling, Class G Felony Theft - Movable Property (>$10,000 - $100,000), Class I Felony Possession of Burglarious Tools, Class I Felony Criminal Damage to Property, and Class H Felony Operating a Motor Vehicle Without Owner’s Consent.

Demessie’s case was scheduled for a Jury Trial in June 2020, however at a hearing on April 23, 2020, the Court accepted Guilty Pleas from Demessie on one charge of Class F Felony Burglary of Building or Dwelling, Class I Felony Criminal Damage to Property (amended with an enhancer for Party to a Crime included), and Class H Felony Operating a Motor Vehicle Without Owner’s Consent.

The remaining charges filed against Demessie were dismissed and/or read-in for consideration at a sentencing hearing that is scheduled to be held in June 2020.

Demessie was placed on a $50,000 cash bond following the incident in December 2019 and at the time of the hearing on April 23, 2020, he remained in the custody of Law Enforcement.

Pursuant to the direction of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as found in Supreme Court Rule 20:3.6, Trial Publicly, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.


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