MOORHEAD – Jack Terrence Langston struck his father so hard with a club that Breckenridge police said it broke in two.
Then the 17-year-old came back from inside the apartment they shared wielding a hatchet.
“The juvenile proceeded to stand over Jerome Langston with a small hatchet and from a standing position, swings the hatchet with what appears to be as much force as possible, striking Jerome Langston in the face,” police said in a complaint filed Wednesday, March 30 in Wilkin County district court, two days after the alleged attack.
Investigators didn’t have to use their imagination to describe the scene. They had footage from a security camera in the hallway.
Wilkin County Attorney Tim Fox said in a court filing that he’ll ask to try Langston as an adult for attempted murder in the second degree, first-degree assault involving “great bodily harm” to the victim and second-degree assault involving “substantial bodily harm.”
Jerome Langston, who suffered fractures to his face and skull, told Police Chief Nate Harder from his hospital bed shortly after the alleged attack that he doesn’t remember what happened but may have fallen out a window, the complaint said.
“When Chief Harder explained that he had seen the video, Jerome Langston began to cry and did not wish to talk any further.”
His son, who turns 18 in three weeks, was last reported held at the West Central Regional Juvenile Center in Moorhead. Center staff declined to confirm if he was still there on Monday, April 4.
According to the complaint, Officer Scott Johnson was summoned to the Park Manor apartment building near the Otter Tail River at around 4:50 p.m. March 28 where he met the apartment manager, Pam Hovde.
After hearing two thumps from the fourth floor, she had gone up and found a bloodied Jerome Langston lying in the hallway. The victim was taken to St. Francis hospital in Breckenridge before being moved to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo.
In the video Hovde showed Johnson, Jerome Langston could be seen stumbling out of his apartment and into a wall followed by Jack Langston, the complaint said. Using a “long blunt object,” the teen struck his father across the back causing the older man to fall facedown. As Jerome Langston rolled onto his back, the teen returned to the apartment and came out with a hatchet. He used the blunt side to strike his father in the face before leaving the building.
A neighbor, Leslie Lawrence, told Chief Harder, who arrived after Johnson, that the teen said nothing as he beat his father.
In the apartment, police later found a coffee table with a shattered glass top, two halves of the club, which one officer called a walking stick, a hatchet and a broken frying pan.
Jack Langston was arrested within hours of the alleged attack and was taken to St. Francis hospital for cuts on his hands.
At the time, he was out on parole after pleading guilty to terrorizing and assault in the fifth degree in November for attacking a man in the apartment of a friend. Police said he threatened the man with a gun, which turned out to be a BB or an Airsoft gun, and when the man fought him to disarm him, he threatened him with a kitchen knife.
A hearing to see if Jack Langston can be certified as an adult has been scheduled for Monday, April 25, the day after he turns 18.
Fox, the county attorney, said state law requires that the suspect be at least 16 and the alleged crime be very serious. He said that in his 36 years in office he’s rarely had to try a juvenile as an adult.
The Forum generally doesn’t name juveniles in court proceedings, with the exception of when the court is seeking to prosecute the accused as an adult.