Victim’s Daughters Speak in Final Sentencing of Gaarsland Case

Scott Moen is given a 20-year prison sentence in the beating death of Joey Gaarsland

A judge exceeded the recommended sentence for the last man accused in the bar beating death of Fargo man Joey Gaarsland.

Scott Moen was given a 20-year sentence despite prosecution recommending 15 years.

But family members say even that isn’t enough.

“The man you followed, you hit him to the ground, stomped on his head over and over and watched him bleed,” Joey Gaarsland’s daughter Ali said to Moen in court. “If that makes you uncomfortable to hear, just imagine how I felt when I saw my dad dead in a hospital bed with your shoe print on his forehead.”

Moen was the first of four suspects to plead guilty in Joey Gaarsland’s death.

Gaarsland was beaten to death after a fight outside Rick’s and Speck’s Bar in May of 2015.

He left behind a family of five, including two teenage daughters, Ali and Madison.

Both daughters spoke directly to Moen before sentencing, calling him the ring leader of the suspects.

“My little brother’s only three,” Joey Gaarsland’s daughter Madison told Moen. “He won’t even know my father when he’s older, nor will he know how much he loved him. This man has ruined my life. Many lives.”

Police say the fight started when Gaarsland’s wife provoked one of the men, claiming he was guilty of domestic and child abuse.

“We’ll never know the circumstances of who actually did kill Mr. Gaarsland,” Moen’s public defense attorney Kyle Melia said. “Mister Moen has expressed regret and I think a ten year sentence is appropriate.”

“What happens when he’s out,” asked prosecuting attorney Tristan James Van de Streek. “He’s been to prison for domestic violence, crime and he’s been revoked.”

Moen made a brief statement apologizing to the Gaarslands, the families of the other men involved in the death and his own family.

“What started as defending myself went way too far that night,” Moen said. “I wish I hadn’t drank so much and maybe I could have stopped what happened.”

“When he spoke and did his letter, he spoke like he was sorry, but at the same time, I don’t know if I should believe that or not,” Madison said.

Jessy Olsen and Nicholas Morris were given 20-year sentences while Jason Oien will serve 15 years.

The daughters say regardless of the sentence, nothing will change the fact their father is not here.

“If they would have gotten life versus five years even, nothing would have brought my dad back,” Ali said.

Moving forward, the Gaarsland family says they’re planning ways to honor the life of Joey.

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