Mitchell man who helped commit 'violent assault' at local motel sentenced to 12 years in prison

“This was a serious, egregious assault. It’s more disturbing you went along with the co-defendant,” Judge Chris Giles said to Damond Baldwin, who was sentenced for his role in a motel room assault

The Davison County Public Safety Center. (Matt Gade / Republic)
The Davison County Public Safety Center.
Republic file photo

MITCHELL — A Mitchell man who was part of a violent assault at a local motel was sentenced Tuesday to 12 years in prison.

Prosecuting attorneys said that Damond Baldwin, 41, of Mitchell, was not responsible for organizing what’s been dubbed as a “violent, premeditated assault.” But Judge Chris Giles imposed the same sentence for Baldwin as he did on Feb. 28 for Michael Wermers, 39, the man who prosecutors say set the beating up inside a room at the Corn Palace Inn motel.

“This was a serious, egregious assault. It’s more disturbing you went along with the co-defendant,” Giles said to Baldwin, who has been in custody at the Davison County Jail for over 180 days since being charged.

Prior to Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, Baldwin pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with intent to cause bodily injury and indifference to human life, a Class 3 felony. He faced a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine for the assault charge.

A plea agreement with Davison County prosecuting attorneys recommended a 10-year prison sentence, but Giles rejected it, citing Baldwin’s criminal past and opportunities to rehabilitate. Ultimately, Baldwin received the same 12-year prison sentence as Wermers, which includes being held liable to cover the roughly $6,000 in medical costs that the victim incurred from the assault.


According to an arrest affidavit, Wermers covered a security camera with a baseball cap at the motel to commit the assault of the victim who was an occupant of a room.

Authorities were provided statements about a video showing Wermers and Baldwin assaulting the victim prior to stealing keys and a cell phone, the affidavit stated.

Baldwin apologized to the victim prior to being sentenced and pleaded for leniency, citing past traumatic life events that he says has led to dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. An individual who knew Baldwin was called on by his attorney to speak about the past life events that Baldwin explained negatively impacted his life.

Baldwin is awaiting another hearing in Hanson County for a separate criminal case he’s facing.

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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