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FARGO — A court hearing that lasted nearly two weeks is over, but it will be many months before Judge Ralph Erickson rules on the question of whether convicted killer Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. is intellectually disabled and therefore ineligible to be executed for the kidnapping and murder of 22-year-old Dru Sjodin. The hearing that began Jan. 28 in federal court in Fargo wrapped up Thursday, Feb. 7, with Erickson giving lawyers a total of four months to file briefs on the mental health issue, though that timetable will not start until a transcript of the hearing has been completed.
FARGO — A forensic psychiatrist testified in federal court here Tuesday, Feb. 5, that convicted kidnapper and killer Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. approached committing wrongdoing with a "criminal guile" that undermines his claim that he has an intellectual disability and therefore is ineligible to be executed.
FARGO — On Monday, Feb. 4, day six of a federal court hearing focused on whether Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. is ineligible for execution based on his mental health, the court heard testimony from a government-called expert who quoted Rodriguez regarding his views on religion and God.
FARGO — A forensic neuropsychologist testified in federal court that in his opinion, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., who is on death row for the kidnapping and murder of a University of North Dakota college student, has an intellectual disability. Ricardo Weinstein explained his diagnosis during a hearing before Judge Ralph Erickson, who presided over Rodriguez's trial in 2006. Rodriguez was found guilty and sentenced to death in the 2003 killing of Dru Sjodin.
FARGO — Conflicting images emerged Tuesday, Jan. 29, of the man convicted of kidnapping and killing University of North Dakota college student Dru Sjodin in 2003, with some reports painting him as a broken figure from a very early age and others reflecting a picture of a mostly normal upbringing.
FARGO — A former attorney for Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. testified at a hearing in federal court on Monday, Jan. 28, that prior to Rodriguez's kidnapping and murder trial in 2006, he considered using mental deficiency as a defense, but decided against it based on the findings of an IQ test Rodriguez underwent. Rodriguez, 65, was convicted by a jury in 2006 of the 2003 kidnapping and murder of Dru Sjodin, a 22-year-old University of North Dakota student from Pequot Lakes, Minn.
WALKER, Minn. — A 21-year-old man has been charged in Cass County (Minn.) District Court in the death of a 3-month old child. Presley Arron Sleyster is charged with one count of second-degree murder, which accuses him of unintentionally causing the death of an infant he was caring for on Dec. 5. According to court documents: On Dec. 5, Cass County deputies were called to the rural Staples home where Sleyster resides on a report of an infant who had suffered a seizure and was having difficulty breathing.
FARGO — A federal judge has denied prosecution requests to bar expert witnesses from testifying on behalf of the defense at an upcoming hearing in the case of Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., who is seeking to have his conviction and death sentence set aside in the kidnapping and murder of Dru Sjodin. Rodriguez, who is in his mid-60s, was sentenced to death for the 2003 death of Sjodin, a 22-year-old University of North Dakota student.
FARGO — No one was hurt when a plane veered off a runway at Hector International Airport and crashed at the north end of the airfield just before 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, an airport official said. Shawn Dobberstein, executive director of Fargo's Municipal Airport Authority, said it appeared the plane, a Cessna Citation II, had been in the process of landing on the airport's primary runway when the small jet veered off the runway before coming to a stop.
AUDUBON, Minn. — The Becker County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday morning, Nov. 14, confirmed that one person died in a shooting here Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 13, and one person was taken into custody. The name of the deceased, a male, was not released. The person arrested was identified by the sheriff's office as Michaelray Ericthomas Mason, 29, of Audubon. Mason was being held in the Becker County Jail Wednesday morning. The incident was reported about 4:40 p.m. Tuesday at a home in Audubon, and law enforcement officers were on the scene late into the night.