UPDATE Pembina County ND Man Faces Serious Charges

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In a recent update, we have new information regarding the ongoing legal proceedings against Benjamin B Jay Tonnison of Cavalier, North Dakota. The update includes the outcome of a recent jury trial, as well as the charges he still faces. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the latest developments and shed light on the gravity of the charges against Tonnison.


Benjamin B Johannessen, a 32-year-old resident of Wahala, has been charged with multiple serious felonies in Pembina County Court. These charges include gross sexual imposition, burglary, felonious restraint, terrorizing, and theft of property. The charges stem from an incident that occurred on October 16th, 2018, wherein a victim reported a sexual assault at her rural Wahala home. The victim identified Tonnison as her attacker.

The Night of the Assault

According to court documents, Tonnison allegedly entered the victim’s home through a window on the northwest side of the property during the night. Once inside, he forcefully grabbed the victim from behind and covered her mouth with his hand. He then threatened her with what appeared to be a weapon and led her to the bedroom. In the bedroom, he digitally penetrated her, slapped her buttocks, and pulled her hair. The victim described Tonnison as tall, slender, and strong, wearing a cap with some white on it, possibly resembling a mask.

Following the assault, Tonnison restrained the victim by tying her hands behind her back with her own clothing and bound her feet. He then demanded that she count to 400 before he would leave and threatened to slit her throat if she contacted the authorities. The victim, fearing for her life, complied with his demands but managed to escape and alert authorities after Tonnison left the premises. She spotted him running along the fence toward the roadway and noticed the sound of a vehicle with loud pipes or a loud muffler.

Investigation and Evidence

Investigators have uncovered compelling evidence linking Tonnison to the crime. They collected boot prints at the scene that perfectly match his shoes, as well as his clothes from the night before, which were captured on surveillance footage at a local bar. Additionally, the victim’s description of torn jeans matches the ones worn by Tonnison during the assault. Notably, authorities have also noted that Tonnison’s GMC Sierra truck has loud pipes, consistent with the sound the victim heard during the incident. Furthermore, his tire tracks were found near the victim’s residence.

Legal Proceedings

Despite the overwhelming evidence against him, Tonnison has pleaded not guilty to all charges. A jury trial is expected to be scheduled this month, where Tonnison will have the opportunity to dispute the allegations brought against him. However, it is important to note that he has already been found guilty of possession of drugs in a Correctional Facility and has been sentenced to one year in jail for a separate case.


The case involving Benjamin B Jay Tonnison has taken a significant turn with recent updates. While he was acquitted of a felony charge of criminal trespass, he still faces serious charges, including gross sexual imposition. The details of the assault are disturbing, shedding light on the traumatic experience endured by the victim. With substantial evidence linking Tonnison to the crime, the upcoming jury trial will determine his fate. The outcome of this trial will have a significant impact on the victim’s pursuit of justice and may provide closure for the community affected by this heinous act.

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