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Cloquet resident charged with manslaughter following fight

Joel Jay Ammesmaki faces up to 15 years and prison and a $30,000 fine if convicted of the charges.

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CLOQUET, Minn. — A Cloquet man is in custody at the Carlton County Jail after police found another man dead at his apartment on the Fond du Lac Reservation.

Joel Jay Ammesmaki, 58, was arrested in the early morning hours of Tuesday, Sept. 14, after the Fond du Lac Tribal Police Department responded to a call at the Veteran’s Housing Complex in Cloquet.

According to the complaint, Ammesmaki reported he got into a fight with another man and wanted him removed from his apartment. When they arrived on the scene, officers found Ammesmaki standing near a couch and a man laying face up on the floor with dried blood around his nostrils.

When police arrived, the man was unresponsive, his eyes were partially open and he was not breathing, the complaint said. Paramedics arrived on the scene and attempted to provide care, but told officers the man was dead.

While police and medics were attempting to revive the man on the floor, Ammesmaki became distraught and said “that it wasn’t supposed to go this way,” according to the complaint, and told officers that he had punched the man in the face while they were fighting.

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Cloquet Police Department Commander Adam Reed said the victim's name is being withheld until the family has been notified.

If convicted, Ammesmaki faces up to 15 years in prison, a $30,000 fine or both.

Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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