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Grand Forks man pleads guilty in bar fight stabbing

A Grand Forks man whose trial had been scheduled to start next month pleaded guilty to attempted murder Friday.

Johnny Bob Mendez, 29, allegedly stabbed Justin Corey Christianson, 28, twice with a knife during an early morning fight in February 2008, puncturing his lung, according to court documents.

The fight started in a parking lot outside the El Roco night club on North Washington Street in Grand Forks. It was broken up but started again in a restaurant lot a few blocks away. That's where Christianson was stabbed, records show.

Prosecutor Carmell Mattison said she plans to invite Christianson to testify at Mendez's sentencing hearing, scheduled for May 1. Mendez's attorney, Steven Light, said he expects to call people to take the stand on his client's behalf.

Mattison said Mendez did not make a plea deal but that she and Light will meet to discuss a sentence that they might recommend to the judge.

Mendez, who is being held in the Grand Forks County jail on $100,000 bond, faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of $10,000. Also, a minimum penalty of four years behind bars looms over Mendez because he allegedly used a weapon to harm Christianson.