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Grand Forks brass-knuckles assault prompts civil suit

A man who was punched in the head with brass knuckles in downtown Grand Forks in 2008 is suing his attacker.

Allen Larsien, 46, is seeking more than $12,000 in damages, including medical costs and lost wages, from David Exelbert, a former airman who was stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base.

In September 2008, Exelbert hit Larsien in the forehead with the brass knuckles, causing severe bleeding and permanent scarring, court documents say.

Larsien's suit says Exelbert's attack near Sledster's bar on South Fourth Street was unprovoked. Larsien had to subdue Exelbert to defend himself and his two friends, according to the suit.

Exelbert was consequently charged with aggravated assault, and his case went to trial in May 2009.

During the trial, defense attorney Kerry Rosenquist said Exelbert was "fairly intoxicated" during the incident. Rosenquist argued that Larsien, a former trainer of North Dakota boxer Virgil Hill, wanted to fight Exelbert. Larsien said otherwise.

A jury convicted Exelbert, and he was sentenced in July 2009 to two years in prison and a year of supervised probation. Exelbert, who was a flight engineer with the rank of sergeant at the time of the assault, has since been discharged from the Air Force, court documents say.

Exelbert, 27, has not responded to Larsien's suit, which was filed last week. He is in custody at the Missouri River Correctional Center (MRCC), a minimum-security facility in Bismarck.

Inmates at the MRCC are not allowed to receive phone calls. On Wednesday, a prison official said Exelbert would not be permitted to call the Herald if he wished to do so.

Larsien has not received any restitution from Exelbert through the criminal case, according to court documents.