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Records detail horrific attack in Moorhead trailer

MOORHEAD -- She was held against her will for 24 hours during which she was, on multiple occasions, beaten, stabbed and raped, and soaked in lighter fluid by a man who threatened to kill her by lighting her on fire and then cutting her in pieces.

The woman lost so much blood she was in and out of consciousness. When she was able to stay awake, her attacker forced her to clean up her own blood from the floor.

That's the horrific ordeal the 46-year-old victim in an alleged attack in a trailer home in north Moorhead described to police after escaping from Michael Anthony Powell's trailer on July 2.

Details of the allegations are outlined in a complaint filed last week in Clay County District Court for second-degree assault, first-degree criminal sexual conduct and false imprisonment in search warrant documents filed this week.

Powell, 51, of Moorhead, is jailed in Clay County on unconditional bail of $750,000, or $300,000 with conditions. He appeared in court Friday to exercise his right for an evidentiary hearing within 28 days, a hearing that was scheduled for Aug. 8.

The West Fargo, N.D., woman who was the victim of the purported attack, who isn't being named because Forum Communications typically does not identify victims of a sexual assault, told police she had a relationship with Powell, and she was trying to hide from her boyfriend, a long-haul trucker who was receiving harassing phone calls from Powell in the days before the incident, according to court filings in the case.

After Powell was arrested shortly after midnight on July 3, having been tracked to Moorhead by a police trace on his cell phone, he told officers he and the woman had been arguing. She was concerned he'd reveal their relationship to her boyfriend, Powell said.

Powell claimed to police the woman stabbed herself in the shoulder with a knife, and the sexual contact between them was consensual.

He wouldn't speak with police about other injuries sustained by the alleged victim or about the apparently bloody items -- sheets, clothing and towels -- a witness saw him dump in a neighbor's trash can.

A Clay County search warrant executed Wednesday examined the phones of Powell and the woman who contends he attacked her to look for any texts or voice mails between them.

The woman told police in the roughly 24 hours she was in the mobile home -- from afternoon on July 1 until shortly before 1 p.m. the next day -- she was struck with several objects police later found in Powell's trailer: the lid of a cooler, a flash-light and a silver caulking gun.

Police also found a bottle of lighter fluid, knives that matched a description she provided and a bottle of gin she said Powell had been drinking while assaulting and threatening her.

All those items, as well as a roll of duct tape with which she said he threatened to bind her, had what appeared to be blood on them, police have alleged.

Detectives also found a red bike, futon and sheet of plywood, objects the woman claimed Powell used to barricade the front door to prevent her from leaving.

An online record search shows no history of violent offenses by Powell, but the records search indicates he does have a history of drug convictions in New Jersey.