Police: Minn. man bit roommate, threatened him with blowtorch

Published 2:15 pm Wednesday, February 11, 2015

MANKATO, Minn. — A Minnesota man remained in jail Wednesday after being arrested following a weekend argument with his roommates in which police say he bit one of them and threatened them with a makeshift blowtorch.

Julius Dion Neal, 20, of Mankato, was charged with two felonies and four misdemeanors following the incident, which happened early Sunday morning.

According to the Mankato (Minn.) Free Press, Neal told police the conflict began when people in his apartment called him a racial slur for an African American, which upset him. One of the victims later said he meant the slur as a friendly greeting.

After the initial argument, the victims left and went into an upstairs bedroom belonging to Neal’s roommate. Neal followed, accusing both of them of ganging up on him and being racist. According to the complaint, he punched the roommate in the face, and the two fought on the floor. At this point, Neal bit his roommate on the thumb and finger with enough force to require stitches.

The complaint also states that the roommate and the other victim got Neal to leave the bedroom and put a chair in front of the door to keep him out. Neal, however, kicked and punched through the door. One of the victims recorded a video of Neal breaking the door down, which police are asking to have included in the case file, the complaint says.

But the most serious charge against Neal, assault with a dangerous weapon, stems from his handling of a kitchen knife and creating a torch by igniting cooking spray with a lighter. The complaint states that Neal followed the victims around the apartment with the torch long enough to set smoke detectors off.

During a police interview, Neal admitted to punching his roommate, saying he did so because people were threatening him.

After his arrest, Neal was “outspoken about his thoughts on being able to physically fight someone who verbally threatens him,” the complaint stated.

Linehan writes for the Mankato (Minn.) Free Press.