Jessica Ruth Nazarian, 24, Morris, has been charged with second degree attempted murder in the knife assault of a resident of the Divine group home in Morris early the morning of Feb. 13.
The victim, a developmentally disabled adult, was seriously injured in the stabbing but is now home with her family recovering.
Nazarian made her first court appearance in Stevens County 8th Judicial District Court Tuesday, Feb. 22, where she was read a statement of her rights and the charges against her. She was also given a court-appointed public defender. Nazarian remains in custody at the Traverse County Jail.
A Rule 8 hearing was set for this past Monday where Nazarian was to be advised of her rights again and given the opportunity to enter a guilty plea. If she didn’t enter a guilty plea, an omnibus hearing was to be scheduled.
At an omnibus hearing, the defendant pleads guilty or not guilty, the prosecution establishes probable cause for the charges, and issues involving evidence that has been submitted are discussed.
In all, Nazarian, a student at the University of Minnesota, Morris, who was working at the group home, faces three felony charges.
The most serious charge she faces is felony attempted murder in the second degree – with intent not premeditated. Nazarian is charged with the “attempt to cause the death of a human being with intent to effect death, but without premeditation. A dangerous weapon was used, specifically a knife.”
The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $17,500 fine.
The second count is felony assault in the first degree.
It states that Nazarian assaulted another and inflicted great bodily harm. “Great bodily harm means bodily injury which creates a high probability of death, or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or which causes permanent or protracted loss of the function of any bodily member or organ or other serious bodily harm,” the complaint states.
The charge carries a minimum sentence of not less than one year and one day in prison and a maximum sentence of not more than 20 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.
She also faces an assault second degree – dangerous weapon – substantial bodily harm charge. Nazarian is alleged to have assaulted the victim with a dangerous weapon inflicting substantial bodily harm.
The charge carries a minimum sentence of not less than one year and one day in prison and a maximum sentence of not more than 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
Despite being stabbed 17 times, the victim, who is referred to as “V” in the complaint, was able to make three 911 calls to the Stevens County dispatch. The victim and Nazarian were the only two in the group home at the time of the assault, according to the complaint.
Just after midnight Feb. 13, officers from the Morris Police Department, Stevens County Sheriff’s Office, and the University of Minnesota Campus Police were dispatched to a group home in Morris in response to the 911 calls.
The complaint states the first two 911 calls ended before the dispatcher could “get all the necessary information about the event. On the third call, dispatch was able to stay on the line with ‘V’ until law enforcement arrived.”
During the calls, “V” told the dispatcher Nazarian had told her that she “wanted to kill her and then proceeded to ‘fight’ her with a knife a couple of times.” The victim told the dispatcher that they were the only two in the house. She said she had been stabbed in the face with a knife.
Two Morris police officers were the first to arrive at the home where they saw “blood smeared on the glass portion of the outermost door.” When they entered the home, they saw a knife blade lying on the rug to the right of the door and a bloody towel. The knife blade was missing its handle.
When they found Nazarian on the second level of the split-level home, she was “leaning on an island in the kitchen with her chin resting in her hands. Officer Danielle Reuss “observed the defendant appeared to have a ‘thousand mile stare’ and was not responding to the situation,” the complaint states.
The victim was found immediately behind Nazarian, still holding the phone. She had extensive injuries including lacerations, puncture wounds, and a swollen and discolored eye. Her hair was matted with blood and her shirt was “extremely soaked” in blood, the complaint states.
While Nazarian was cuffed, Reuss began tending V’s wounds, the complaint states. It appeared to Reuss that V was “on the verge of losing consciousness,” according to the complaint.
Both the victim and Nazarian were taken to the Stevens Community Medical Center. The victim was found to have two fractured vertebrae in addition to her other injuries, the complaint states. The victim was transferred to Sanford Hospital in Fargo, N.D., for further treatment. She was later transferred to Swift County-Benson Health Services before her release.
“The fracture will require rehabilitative and a hard brace,” the complaint states. “V could have permanent scarring from some of the lacerations,” the complaint stated.
Nazarian was “located in a mental health unit,” the complaint said.
Officers at the group home found blood in multiple rooms as they continued their investigation.
The complaint states that V told officers that Nazarian made her go for a walk outside at about 11:30 p.m. in her pajamas. At the time, the temperature was one (1) degree above zero. When they returned from the walk, V told Nazarian that she wanted to go to bed. “No you’re not, I am going to kill you,” Nazarian told V, according to the complaint. It goes on to say that V “fled downstairs to the bathroom where she was stabbed multiple times by Nazarian.
According to the complaint, Nazarian then asked V to “hurt her.”
V was able to get a phone and call 911 but was told to hang up by Nazarian, the complaint states. She called 911 twice more.
When Morris Police Cpl. Shane Nelson questioned Nazarian, she asked her what had happened, the complaint states. She said she had tried to kill herself, according to the complaint.
Nelson asked her why she had tried to kill herself with Nazarian responding that she was mad. However, the complaint says she didn’t say why she was mad.
“She acknowledged stabbing V in the bathroom,” the complaint states. “She acknowledged that V was trying to fight back and acknowledged that V asked her to stop,” according to the complaint.
Morris attorney Charlotte Lee Culbertson was named Nazarian’s public defender. Stevens County Attorney Aaron Jordan was named as the lead prosecutor in the case.
In a filing Feb. 24, Jordan requested that Judge Charles Glasrud be removed from the case and another judge assigned.
At last week’s court appearance, Nazarian’s unconditional bail was set at $500,000, with conditional release bail or bond put at $250,000.
The interim conditions for her release were the following:
– Wear an electronic monitoring device
– Remain law-abiding
– Make all future court appearances
– Make and maintain contact with attorney
– Keep court/attorney informed of current address
– Have no contact with victim(s)
– Does not enter victim’s residence
– Not use or possesses firearms or dangerous weapons
– Not use alcohol or a controlled substance
– Not possess alcohol or drugs
– Submit to random testing.