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Michael Rafferty, Minot, pleads not guilty to punching man at bar and fracturing his nose and orbital bone

Michael Joseph Rafferty, 25, Minot, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to punching a man in the face at the Barley Pop Bar in Minot on June 22 and fracturing the man’s nose and orbital bone.

According to testimony at a preliminary hearing by Officer Matthew Pappenfus, the alleged victim had met a large group of men at the bar and passed gas. A number of the men then assaulted the alleged victim and punched and kicked him. The alleged victim picked out Rafferty from a photo lineup as the man who threw the first punch and fractured his nose and orbital bone.

Pappenfus testified that he is familiar with several members of the group, some of whom have the same surnames, because he has investigated several similar incidents over the past several years. According to Pappenfus, the modus operandi is for men in the group to gang up on and beat up a person they have just met at a local bar. According to statements made at the hearing one of the other investigating officers was told that one name for this group is “The Pavers.”

Rafferty’s defense attorney, Tom Slorby, questioned the identification of Rafferty as the man who threw the first punch.

Judge Gary Lee found probable cause for the case to move forward and Rafferty pleaded not guilty to the Class C felony aggravated assault charge.

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