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Arrest warrant issued for Duluth stabbing defendant

An arrest warrant has been issued for a man who pleaded guilty to a stabbing incident at the Steve O'Neil Apartments in Duluth earlier this year. Tyler Joseph Bizal, 22, allegedly failed to appear for a presentence investigation with a probation ...

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Tyler Bizal

An arrest warrant has been issued for a man who pleaded guilty to a stabbing incident at the Steve O'Neil Apartments in Duluth earlier this year.

Tyler Joseph Bizal, 22, allegedly failed to appear for a presentence investigation with a probation officer this month, prompting Judge Dale Harris to issue the warrant on Monday.

Bizal accepted a plea agreement on May 22, pleading guilty to an amended charge of third-degree assault in connection with the April 16 stabbing of Deland Johnson at the Central Hillside apartment complex.

Johnson was found in the lobby of the recently opened facility at 115 W. Fourth St. and was rushed to a hospital where he was initially listed in critical condition. He survived his injuries. Police said Bizal confessed to the crime, telling officers that he had gotten into an "altercation" with Johnson and stabbed him multiple times with a knife.

Bizal had been released from custody pending sentencing. However, in a memorandum filed last week, Arrowhead Regional Corrections probation officer Dan Erickson reported that Bizal failed to appear for a June 4 presentence meeting and did not return phone calls.

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Under Minnesota law, every defendant convicted of a felony is required to cooperate with a presentence investigation, which is used to assist the judge and attorneys at sentencing. The evaluation is used to assess the defendant's "individual characteristics, circumstances, needs, potentialities, criminal record and social history, the circumstances of the offense and the harm caused by it to others and to the community."

Bizal's previously scheduled June 23 sentencing date was pulled from the court calendar.

Bizal has a history of assault and property crimes and was wanted on two misdemeanor warrants at the time of his stabbing arrest.

Related Topics: CRIME
Tom Olsen has covered crime and courts for the Duluth News Tribune since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and a lifelong resident of the city. Readers can contact Olsen at 218-723-5333 or tolsen@duluthnews.com.
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