Update: Jury deliberating Pendleton murder trial

"Aiming for Officer Holte's legs not intending to kill. I knew that if you kill one of these guys it will take a long time getting through it."

UPDATE – The jury in the Salamah Pendleton trial has the case and were sent home around 4:30 Tuesday.

They will return Wednesday morning to continue deliberating.

Prosecutor Carmell Mattison says Salamah Pendleton’s state of mind was reckless and intentional.

“If you recall that book that was in his living room opened up was on the page of homicide. It had definitions on that page. Justifiable homicide. Excusable homicide.”

Mattison says Pendleton prepared to shoot at officers.

“The defendant placed a 2×4 on his front door and ran back to the bedroom and locked the door. Grabbed a loaded AK-74 and positioned himself right in front of that bedroom door waiting. Waiting for law enforcement to open that door so he could pull the trigger.”

“Bodycam video and the trajectory evidence shows the defendant fired directly at Officer Holte.”

She says no bullets were missing from Officer Holte’s gun.

Mattison says the ballistic results show the bullets found hitting Holte and the defendant’s mother belonged to Pendleton.

“These bullet fragments were consisted of 5.45 by 39-millimeter bullet ammunition. The defendant was the only person using this type of ammunition.”

She says Pendleton’s testimony contradicts the evidence.

“Defendant’s testimony on the stand was not only unreasonable, but it contradicted all the physical evidence, all the body cam evidence, all the trajectory evidence, everybody else’s testimony.”

Defense attorney Steve Mottinger’s closing statement has to do with Pendleton’s perspective and the sequence of events.

He says Pendleton’s mindset was disarranged.

“State of mind was altered. It’s already under stress because he had nowhere to go. He was afraid.”

The defense says the bodycam footage doesn’t prove either side.

“They don’t disprove one version as opposed to the other. They don’t disprove one perspective as opposed to the other perspective.”

Mottinger says to claim Officer Holte didn’t shoot his gun was based on perspective.

“To speculate he didn’t fire because he never had a chance to fire is nothing more than pure speculation and it’s not supported by the evidence.”

In the prosecution’s rebuttal, Mattison says the evidence proves Pendleton wasn’t shot by officers.

“There wasn’t any blood in the defendant’s bedroom and none of the officers’ shell casings were in the hallway or the defendant’s bedroom.”


GRAND FORKS, N.D. (KVRR) – The man accused of killing his own mother and a Grand Forks police officer takes the stand in his own defense.

“Aiming for Officer Holte’s legs not intending to kill. I knew that if you kill one of these guys it will take a long time getting through it,” Salamah Pendleton said.

Pendleton takes the stand and says he refused to open the door for officers, who were trying to serve eviction papers.

He says he saw his mother before officers barged into his home.

“Before they knocked on the door I cracked my door and peeked out before they came in and then I saw my mother laying on the ground. I was traumatized and terrified for my life. They kicked the door down and fired a shot at me and hit me in the right arm. I spun around and grabbed my rifle and returned fire right away,” Pendleton said.

Pendleton says he couldn’t see without his glasses when he was shooting but claims he was aiming for the officers’ legs.

“Do you recall what your thought process was in regards to aiming at their legs? What were you trying to accomplish?” The defense attorney asked.

“I was hoping that maybe if I hit them in their legs that they’ll focus on their injuries and stop shooting at me,” Pendleton said.

Pendleton says he was scared to surrender.

“I was traumatized after seeing her on the ground and I figured if I come out that’s going to happen to me next,” Pendleton said.

He says he didn’t intentionally shoot at anyone.

“Are you of the opinion that a projectile from your rifle struck your mom?” The defense attorney asked.

“For the projectile from my round would have been a ricochet because I had no intentions to kill anyone that day. I had no intention to kill officer Holte. I had no intentions in killing my mother, so it would have been a ricochet round,” Pendleton said.

The prosecution says there was a book connected to the crime.

“The day you indicated you did take aim at law enforcement officers and on the day you did reckless shoot up your apartment through a bedroom wall striking your mom, it just happened that there’s a book opened to justify homicide on that table? Is that correct?” The prosecutor asked.

“I don’t recall that being on that page. No, I don’t recall that,” Pendleton said.

Categories: Crime, North Dakota News