Jul. 14—The Lino Lakes man who pleaded guilty to attacking an elderly couple with a golf club because he was angry over the 2020 election found forgiveness at his sentencing Wednesday.
Mark Anthony Ulsaker, 51, was sentenced to 100 hours of community service. Judge Edward Sheu granted him a stay of imposition, meaning the court accepted his guilty plea, but will not impose what could have been a two-year prison sentence. If Ulsaker successfully follows his probation order, the case will be discharged and the felony conviction will be deemed a misdemeanor under Minnesota law.
"(The victims) don't have any hard feelings or feelings of revenge or retribution or any kind of negative feelings that sometimes we see victims in cases like this have towards people that have perpetrated a crime like this," said Colin Haley, attorney for the couple. "They really presented a real sense of grace during this process."
The couple, who have not been named in court documents, were not physically present at the sentencing that was part in-person and part virtual. Haley said one of them was listening in.
On Nov. 8, White Bear Lake police officers responded to the intersection of Minnesota Highway 96 and Centerville Road after receiving several 911 calls reporting a man assaulting two people with a golf club, the criminal complaint said.
Ulsaker, who described himself as a Trump supporter, had become enraged at a political sign held by an 80-year-old man and 78-year-old woman on the side of the road. He yelled obscenities at them, parked his truck, walked up behind the couple and began to swing his club at their heads. The club hit the woman's chair and broke. Ulsaker then punched the man in the head.
When officers arrived, he fought with police until one officer pulled out his Taser.
"I'm sorry about my actions," Ulsaker said in court, pausing to compose himself. "I'm confident my mindset is in a much better place than it was then."
He said he had been working with a psychologist who had helped him sort through his feelings, adding that he has learned that "people are people first, before any opinions that they may have."
Ulsaker was originally charged with four crimes: second-degree assault with a weapon, fourth-degree assault of a police officer and two counts of making threats of violence. Sheu dismissed the threats charges.
As a long-haul truck driver gone for a week at a time, Ulsaker was permitted to work his community service around his job. He was also ordered to take anger-management classes.
Ulsaker's attorney, Dave Risk, said when he took the case, he, too, was still reeling from the contentious presidential election and was not sure he could represent Ulsaker. On Wednesday, he got emotional explaining how working with Ulsaker was good for him, too.
"It's been powerful for me," he said. "Being able to sit with him and see him as a person who I vehemently disagreed with on so many levels humanized for me the other side and did the same for him. It actually helped heal some difficult relationships in my family."