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Assault victim, witness identify different suspects

KVLY-TV news anchor Stacey Deffenbaugh identified a different suspect than the man police arrested for her assault. Andrew Paul Hanson, 22, 2100 21 Ave.

KVLY-TV news anchor Stacey Deffenbaugh identified a different suspect than the man police arrested for her assault.

Andrew Paul Hanson, 22, 2100 21 Ave. S., faces felony aggravated assault charges in Cass County District Court in Fargo.

But Deffenbaugh identified another man as her assailant even after authorities showed her Hanson.

He is accused of grabbing Deffenbaugh from behind as she walked outside the KVLY studio Monday, choking her and hitting her on the head with a frying pan, according to court documents.

Deffenbaugh activated the panic alarm on her car and the assailant ran away, court documents said.

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Authorities apprehended Hanson soon after.

When Deffenbaugh saw Hanson, she told police she was restrained from looking back and couldn't be sure he was the assailant.

Police later showed her another person who she identified as her attacker.

Hanson became a suspect after a witness saw him running between the Expressway Inn and KVLY parking lot.

Police found what looked to be blood stains on Hanson's clothing.

Hanson is a cook at the hotel but was also not scheduled to be working at 5:30 a.m. when the assault occurred, according to court documents.

The man Deffenbaugh identified as her attacker is William Poitra of Belcourt, N.D.

He and a roommate were staying at the hotel and were waiting to be picked up by their military recruiting officer.

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The witness said Poitra is definitely not the man she saw running.

Assistant Cass County State's Attorney Wade Webb said Tuesday he felt the charge against Hanson was appropriate.

He said police are also looking into whether Hanson may be responsible for other criminal incidents that have taken place in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Webb declined to say what those other incidents may be.

Deffenbaugh is a news anchor for "Valley Today" along with Mick Kjar.

Hanson is expected to appear in court at 9 a.m. today.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Baird at (701) 241-5535

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