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Bail set for man accused of trying to kill girlfriend with metal baseball bat; woman left with broken bones, bruises and cuts requiring 15 stitches

By Archie ingersoll /The Forum

MOORHEAD – A man accused of trying to kill his live-in girlfriend allegedly used a metal baseball bat during a beating that lasted hours and left her with bruises, broken bones and cuts that required a total of 15 stitches, according to documents filed Monday in Clay County District Court.

Michael John Karau, 34, faces felony charges of first-degree attempted murder, first-degree attempted murder while committing domestic abuse, first-degree assault, second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, domestic assault and false imprisonment.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Department investigated the attack, which occurred Wednesday at a home north of Moorhead. The victim told investigators that Karau came home from work intoxicated, became angry with her and started punching her, court documents stated.

The beating continued with him stomping her with his feet, hitting her with the bat, dragging her by her hair, choking her, biting her and threatening to pour battery acid on her face. She lost consciousness for some time during the assault, which went on for hours in various rooms of the home. At one point, Karau tried to drown her in a bathtub and told her he was going to kill her, court documents stated.

The victim reported that Karau would not let her leave the home, and he took her phone so she could not call for help. He eventually passed out, and she was able to get her phone and send a text message to her brother, who took her to a hospital, court documents said.

Her injuries included a broken nose, tailbone and vertebrae; a tear to her ear that needed six stitches; a tear to her lip that required nine stitches; a partially swollen left eye; a right eye that was swollen shut; bruises; and swelling on her face, neck, arms, chest, back and legs, court documents stated.

The victim told investigators she and Karau had been in a relationship for almost a year and that they lived together. She said Karau had beaten her at least twice in the past, but she had not called police, court documents stated. Karau was convicted of domestic assault in 2006 and 2010 in Clay County.

He was arrested Thursday at work and made his initial appearance in court Monday. His bail was set at $1 million without conditions and $600,000 with conditions.

Karau appeared without an attorney during Monday’s hearing. He had applied for a public defender, but Judge Michelle Lawson told him the income he listed on his application exceeded the guidelines. He told her he lost his job and was no longer earning the amount he put on his application. The judge said he could fill out a new application.

Karau remained in custody Monday evening at the Clay County Jail. He’s been ordered to have no contact with the victim. His next court appearance is set for April 25.

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