Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Staff Report
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

MSOP inmate sentenced to 20 years for attempted murder


March 14, 2019

Provided Photo

Mugshot of George Mack. Jr. who was sentenced on March 8.

George Mack, Jr., 42, an offender at the Minnesota Sex Offender Program in Moose Lake, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Friday, March 8, for the charge of Attempted Murder in a Secure Treatment Facility after an incident on Jan. 29, 2019. A second charge of assault on a staff member was dismissed.

Mack had plead guilty in an earlier court appearance.

According to the criminal complaint, Mack had attempted to slash the throat of Zachary Campbell, a clinician, who was leading a community meeting of clients sitting in a circle facing each other.

Mack approached Campbell from behind, lunged towards the back of the counselor, grabbed Campbell's head with one hand and reached around Campbell's throat with the other hand. He was seen on video making two slashing motions.

Campbell was able to avert further injury by lowering his chin, jumping out of his chair and running from Mack.

Mack had used an improvised weapon made from a toothbrush, a razor blade, dental floss and a rubber band.

Mack pursued Campbell but was intercepted by another staff member. Mack threw several punches at the staff member, striking his head and left rib area. Mack was subdued by several staff members and secured.

Photographs of Campbell's injuries revealed an approximately two-inch long cut/gash on his throat and another one-inch cut/gash to the left on his throat.

Campbell appeared in court with his wife and two small children. He read a Victim Impact Statement that he had written.

"This was a life-changing incident," said Campbell. "I have not been able to shave my beard. I have not been able to put a razor to my neck."

Campbell went on to tell of the psychological impact Mack's actions have had on him: panic attacks, insomnia, nightmares when he does sleep.

"My world has changed as I knew it," he told Judge Leslie Beiers and the court. "This incident has left a lasting effect that I was in no way prepared to face.

"I can no longer get up with my four children and prepare them for their day. They find it difficult to understand why Daddy doesn't go to work. My wife has bouts of depression. We have experienced a loss of safety and sense of security. I am not comfortable in public. It is difficult to make decisions about going places. Now I question whether I can work."

Campbell went on to say that he had 18 years of experience in working with mental health issues and was 20 days into being reassigned to the unit where "he faced the attack on my life."

Judge Beiers remarked about his statement.

"It is one of the most powerful statements that I have ever heard of a senseless brutal violent crime," she said. "I hope that you find healing from the attack. I know that it took a lot of courage for you to come here today."

After Campbell returned to where he had been seated before he read his statement, he and his wife embraced for several minutes. And then the family left the courtroom as Judge Beiers sentenced Mack to 20 years with the Commissioner of Corrections. He will serve his time in the St. Cloud prison.

Carlton County Attorney Lauri Ketola remarked, in comments in the hall outside of the courtroom, that it was the thorough police work of Moose Lake Police Chief Bryce Bogenholm and the officers that resulted in such a swift resolution to this case.

Sheriff Kelly Lake had remarked, at the TRIAD meeting on March 6, about the case.

"It was a relatively unheard-of resolution," she said. "It was due to the comprehensive and thorough investigation that Bryce and the officers did."


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