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Leslie Hanes, 61, is now only charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, said Custer County State's Attorney Tracy Kelley.

The victim, a man from Custer, called 911 at 11:44 p.m Sept. 27 to report that he had been stabbed, according to police reports. He was found bleeding in a basement storeroom and taken to the Rapid City hospital to be treated for his eight stab wounds to the chest, arms and neck.

The man told a Custer County deputy that he had come downstairs to confront Hanes and they started arguing, the reports say. He said Hanes pulled out his pocket knife so he pushed him away but Hanes was still able to stab him. 

A deputy reported finding a "large pool of blood" and a trail of blood leading to the parking lot. Surveillance footage allegedly shows Hanes entering the basement followed by the victim, and Hanes leaving 15 minutes later through the parking lot.

Hanes fled the scene in a red pickup and when deputies pulled him over they found him covered in blood and smelling of alcohol and acting very drunk, the reports say. He initially told deputies that he was fine and the blood was from a nosebleed. When told that that much blood can't be from a nosebleed, he said the victim said he was going to kill him and he acted in self defense.

Hanes, who was found with a bloody knife in his pocket, was taken to the hospital where he was treated for a two-inch stab wound to his arm and a dislocated pinkie, the reports say.

He allegedly said he didn't know who he was fighting or where it happened, and repeated his self defense claim multiple times to deputies and in phone conversations. Hanes also said that if he'd had the upper hand, the victim would be in the graveyard, and that he wouldn't mind finishing the job. 

Neither of the men are members or employees of Custer VFW Post 3442, according to a Facebook post by the organization

"We are saddened by the recent events that occurred," the post says. "This is not the practice of the VFW Post or its regular patrons .... as a post we take pride in trying to protect our veterans as well as our patrons and the community members."

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— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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