A national Judo competitor into his 30s, Randal Gast assured authorities his proficiency in self-defense saved him from a fate that "would have been much worse for a lot of different people" when his brother Ronald Gast grabbed the wooden handle of a 13-inch knife from a kitchen drawer, raised it overhead and attacked him, according to a criminal complaint filed in St. Croix County Circuit Court.
Ronald Alan Gast, Emerald, was charged with first-degree recklessly endangering safety and aggravated battery, both felonies and both with the use of a dangerous weapon modifier following the April 14 incident inside the Emerald home he had shared until recently with his mother.
Ronald Gast's next court appearance is scheduled for April 22.
According to the complaint:
St. Croix County deputies responded to the scene of a domestic disturbance just before 6 p.m. April 14 at a residence on Highway 64 in Emerald to find 71-year-old Ronald Gast, his green checkered shirt spotted with blood, pinned to the floor by his brother Randal Gast, who was bleeding from a 2-inch gash on the back of his left hand.
The two were separated and Ronald Gast was handcuffed and seated in the living room.
Randal Gast told deputies that when he first got to the house that evening with his wife, everything appeared to be fine other than he knew his brother was drunk and that "Ronald is always drunk."
Approximately three weeks before the incident, the Gast brothers' mother was moved to an assisted living facility, at which time Randal Gast assumed guardianship over her estate, which included the Emerald home she shared with Ronald Gast for the past 15 years.
Randal Gast told authorities he planned to sell the home and his brother was informed he needed to find another place to live.
In the kitchen, their mother taped various notes to the cabinets, which Randal Gast said he began to remove in anticipation of potential buyers.
Ronald Gast became "very upset" when he noticed, asked Randal Gast if he "wanted to take him on," then grabbed the knife and said, "I'll take you on," before coming at his brother in an "aggressive motion."
At one point during the struggle, Randal Gast's hand was cut, but he was able to wrestle his brother to the ground where he continued to fight off stabbing attempts. His wife was eventually able to step on the knife and get it away from her brother-in-law.
While Randal Gast was on top of him, pinning him to the ground until authorities arrived, Ronald Gast told his brother "about how he just wanted to die."
Ronald Gast told deputies multiple times that he believed what happened was simply "sibling rivalry."
He admitted he was upset that his brother removed notes left on the kitchen cabinets from their mother, but didn't elaborate.
When asked why he grabbed a knife, he said he "hadn't eaten all day and was going to cut vegetables," and his brother's hand was cut "because they got into it."
Ronald Gast continued that the altercation started with his brother because he "can't get into Randal's head" and that "Randal is in charge," but followed that by stating nothing happened.
A preliminary breath test registered Ronald Gast's blood alcohol concentration at .21.
The maximum sentence for felony first-degree recklessly endangering safety with the use of a dangerous weapon is 17 years, six months in prison and a $25,000 fine, while the felony aggravated battery charge is punishable by up to 11 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The use of a dangerous weapon modifier increased potential incarceration time by five years for each charge.