Mitchell man pleads not guilty to stabbing autistic victim five times in apartment complex

After officers brought Joshua Juhnke in for questioning following the stabbing, he allegedly told officers he was “not sure why” he stabbed the victim multiple times

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Police tape is placed around the scene of a crime in Mitchell.
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MITCHELL — A Mitchell man who allegedly stabbed a disabled victim five times in an apartment complex pleaded not guilty Tuesday to the felony charges he’s facing from the incident.

During Davison County felony court proceedings on Tuesday, Joshua Juhnke, 28, of Mitchell, pleaded not guilty to aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon and aggravated assault with intent to cause bodily injury, both Class 3 felonies that carry a maximum sentence of up to 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.

According to an arrest affidavit, Juhnke walked into the victim’s apartment on May 27 with a knife and stabbed the victim five times. Police reports say the victim has autism.

When officers responded to the apartment complex, they located the victim in the hallway with multiple stab wounds.

As officers began speaking with neighbors near the apartment where the stabbing took place, they encountered Juhnke, who had “blood on his arms, legs, feet and face,” according to the affidavit. In an interview with police, Juhnke allegedly said he was “not sure why” he stabbed the victim multiple times.


Police say video surveillance footage from the apartment complex allegedly showed Juhnke walk into the victim’s apartment with a knife and later exited with the victim, who was bleeding.

Officers located the knife Juhnke allegedly used to stab the victim inside the victim’s apartment, which the affidavit says was in a “pool of blood.”

Juhnke was granted a personal recognizance bond on Tuesday to allow his release from jail with the condition he reside with his mother in Burke, South Dakota.

He is scheduled to face a jury trial in mid-October unless he changes his plea prior to the Oct. 17 trial date.

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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