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Wisconsin man charged in Iron Range knife assault

A 45-year-old Wisconsin man remained in custody Tuesday after being formally charged in connection with an assault outside a Virginia bar that left the victim's ear cut clean through.

Salvatore Alioto
Salvatore Joseph Alioto

A 45-year-old Wisconsin man remained in custody Tuesday after being formally charged in connection with an assault outside a Virginia bar that left the victim's ear cut clean through.

Salvatore Joseph Alioto of New Berlin, Wis., was charged in State District Court in Virginia with felony first- and second-degree assault in the attack on Damian Keith Tournat outside the Mirage Bar. The incident occurred about 2 a.m. Friday, after Alioto and a friend who was upset about a pool game had been asked to leave the bar by Tournat, the bartender and another person, the criminal complaint said.

According to the complaint:

Witnesses said Alioto and his friend later began yelling across the parking lot at a group of people that included Tournat. Then Alioto --the larger of the two -- approached Tournat and "furiously" attacked him, even when Tournat was thrown against a vehicle and didn't fight back.

When police arrived, the suspect had left in a reddish mini-van. Tournat, 38, was surrounded by people holding towels to the side of his head where his ear had been cut completely from front to back. He was treated at Virginia Regional Medical Center for the ear slashing, a puncture wound to the arm and a forehead cut. A doctor determined the injuries constituted great bodily harm allowing for the first-degree assault charge.

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Police tracked the suspect to an area motel where he was arrested as he was leaving his room. When officers asked him if he had any sharp objects, he told them he had just thrown a pocket knife in the nearby trash can. Officers retrieved a folding knife with blood on the blade from the trash.

Alioto told officers he only fought with the victim because he was defending his friend, the complaint said.

Appearing before Judge Gary Pagliaccetti, Alioto also was charged with fifth-degree drug possession for illegal possession of prescription drugs found in his pocket. Bail was set at $20,000. But Pagliaccetti also ordered an evaluation to determine if Alioto was eligible for supervisory release.

Alioto's next court appearance is scheduled for June 18.

Related Topics: CRIMEIRON RANGEVIRGINIA
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