A 23-year-old Ellsworth High School graduate has been charged by the St. Croix County district attorney with first-degree attempted murder, mayhem, strangulation and three other felonies in connection with an alleged attack on his 19-year-old girlfriend.
The incident occurred shortly before midnight Sunday, March 1, and continued into the early morning hours of Monday at Valu Stay Inn & Suites, 708 N. Main St.
Benjamin E. Force, formerly of Ellsworth, now residing at 1450 S. Wasson Lane #72 in River Falls, was arrested at the scene, taken to county jail in Hudson and later charged with attempted murder.
The alleged victim was hospitalized and released.
The criminal complaint against Force gives a long list of the woman’s visible injuries said to have resulted from being punched, bitten, gouged, choked, scratched, pulled by the hair, and head butted.
The woman’s injuries were listed as various bite marks, bruises, scratches, swelling and carpet burns to eyes, nostrils, cheeks, lips, scalp, ears, neck, upper shoulders, arms, elbows, feet and knees.
The woman claimed that much of the attack took place on a bed in the motel room and that she was in and out of consciousness.
Near the end of the beating, she fled outside to the parking lot before Force overtook her and allegedly dragged her back inside.
Another motel guest, wakened by the disturbance, called 911 while watching Force and the woman struggle in the parking lot.
She allegedly yelled, ‘Call the police, he hit me,’ while Force called out, ‘Don’t call the police, it’s fine, we’re fine.’
Police officers soon arrived but found no one outside. They contacted the Valu Stay Inn manager and were led to the suspect’s room.
At first no one answered the door. Then it was opened a crack by a naked man -– later identified as Force -- before it closed.
Police, using the manager’s room key, again opened the door. It barely opened because it was latched. Officers had to break the door down.
Force was seen peeking from the bathroom. He came out with his hands on his head, followed by a woman wearing a towel.
She sat on the bed and cried. There was blood on the comforter and pillow, and clumps of hair on the bed and floor.
The young woman was described as visibly hurt on the face and arms. Her right eye was swollen shut. A River Falls ambulance was called.
One witness at the motel claimed to hear Force and the woman argue and yell late that night. He said this had happened between them before.
After midnight, the motel guest claimed to hear the woman screaming so loudly “he could hear the scream over playing ‘Call of Duty’ with a headset on.” He said the screams almost got his dog to start barking.
Not long after, the pair were seen in the parking lot where Force allegedly kept hitting the woman and pulled her back to their room.
In the complaint, the woman said she and Force had been dating off and on for a year. They once had an apartment together briefly.
She met up with him Sunday morning. They were having a good time, drinking Four Loco, a premium malt beverage “energy beer.”
The woman said Force seemed to get drunk and grow irritable and cranky. She tried to cheer him and tickled him.
But she said Force locked himself in the bathroom. When he came out, she said he grabbed her by the neck, choked her, and called her a bitch and liar.
The woman said, “I was seeing stars” and that Force allegedly told her she was about to see her late Uncle Chris soon.
The woman said Force punched her about 100 times, mostly in the face, head and stomach, while calling her names, that he head butted her 10 times, and pinned her down with his knees so she couldn’t fight back.
The woman also said Force bit her about 30 times, including so hard that she thought her lip would be detached and that he tried to gouging her eyeballs out while saying he would make her blind.
Finally, the woman said Force yanked out clumps of her hair and jammed his fingers up her nose and also down her throat so she couldn’t breathe.
She said that he also rolled up into a ball and said, ‘I can’t believe I did this to you.’
The woman estimated her beating in the motel room lasted more than an hour.
Force is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in St. Croix County Circuit Court at 9 a.m. Thursday, March 12. His bail was set at $100,000 cash bond.