Suspect accused of attacking stranger from out of town arraigned on assault charge

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Benjamin Lee

Benjamin Lee

A man accused of attacking a woman he didn’t know at a local store was arraigned in Buchanan County Circuit Court Wednesday.

According to court filings, Benjamin Lee allegedly attacked a woman at the Menard’s store March 3, and had to be restrained by other customers.

St. Joseph police say they have store video that confirms witness accounts of the attack.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Lee assaulted the victim without provocation. He’s accused of strangling her, then putting her head between his legs and pulling on her chin. He then allegedly grabbed her by the inside of her mouth and began dragging her.

The victim says she is not from this area, and does not know Lee. She was hospitalized and, according to the affidavit was “extremely upset and distraught” by the incident.

Lee appeared Wednesday morning with his attorney Tim Warren before Circuit Judge David Bolander. He waived formal reading of the complaint information and the case was scheduled for trial-setting May 5. He is charged with a class-b felony count of first-degree assault. If convicted, he faces a prison term of from five to fifteen years.