DEATH PENALTY

South Dakota prosecutors weigh death penalty in shooting that killed 3

Francis LangeTYNDALL, S.D. – Prosecutors are weighing whether to pursue the death penalty for a Scotland, South Dakota man if he’s convicted of shooting five people, including three fatally, in Bon Homme County. Forty-two-year-old Francis Lange is accused of killing his former girlfriend, Angela Monclova, as well as her father, Librado Monclova, and Diane Akins. Vicki Monclova and a 5-year-old…

Prosecutors drop appeal in Sjodin killing but will still seek death penalty

FARGO (KVRR) – Federal prosecutors have suddenly dropped their appeal of a judge’s ruling in September that overturned the death sentence for Alfonso Rodriguez, the man convicted in the 2003 kidnapping and death of Dru Sjodin. On March 3, the U.S. Attorney’s office filed documents stating that prosecutors intended to ask a federal appeals court to overturn Judge Ralph Erickson’s…

Feds will ask appeals court to reinstate death penalty for Rodriguez

FARGO (KVRR) – Prosecutors will ask a federal appeals court to reverse a federal judge’s order that threw out the death penalty for Alfonso Rodriguez, the man convicted of kidnapping and killing Dru Sjodin. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Fargo has filed a notice that says prosecutors intend to ask the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn Judge Ralph…

Prosecutors begin round 2 of arguing Rodriguez death penalty

FARGO, N.D. — Prosecutors in North Dakota’s first and only death penalty case say defense attorneys are wrong by claiming the judge didn’t go far enough in explaining why he threw out the sentence for Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. He was convicted of killing UND student Dru Sjodin. Judge Ralph Erickson in September ordered a new sentencing phase be conducted, saying…

What’s next? Former U.S. Attorney outlines possibilities after judge overturns Rodriguez death penalty

Drew WrigleyFARGO (KVRR) – The man who led the prosecution in the death penalty case against Alfonso Rodriguez, Jr. says now that a federal judge has overturned Rodriguez’s death sentence, the government’s next move will likely be decided at “the top levels of the Justice Department.” “On a case like this, I would imagine that the Solicitor General of the…

The latest: Federal judge tosses Alfonso Rodriguez death sentence

Alfonso Rodriguez DRU SJODIN Dru SjodinDru Sjodin Drew Wrigley Drew Wrigley FARGO (KVRR) – A federal judge has thrown out the death sentence for a man convicted in the 2003 slaying of a North Dakota college student, saying new evidence shows that the medical examiner was “guessing” on the stand and defense lawyers did not adequately explore mental health evidence….

Rodriguez juror shocked, confused with order that throws out death penalty

FARGO (KVRR) – A jury member who handed down Alfonso Rodriguez’s death penalty sentence says he disagrees with the judge who overturned the death penalty. Luke Lillehaugen was one of 12 jurors who unanimously found Rodriguez guilty and recommended he be sentenced to death in 2006. Lillehaugen says he was shocked when he found out that Eighth Circuit Court of…

Expert says death penalty opponent Biden will have options to consider for Rodriguez

President-elect Biden wants to eliminate the death penalty

FARGO (KVRR) – Could the death sentence of Alfonso Rodriguez, the man convicted of the 2003 kidnapping and murder of University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin, be overturned by the Biden administration? President-elect Joe Biden has said that he opposes the death penalty and will work on legislation to eliminate the death penalty and incentivize states to abolish the…

Pandemic causes more delays in Rodriguez death penalty case

Alfonso RodriguezAlfonso RodriguezFARGO (KVRR) – COVID-19 infections are causing slowdowns in the appeal process of Alfonso Rodriguez, the man facing the death penalty for the kidnapping and murder of Dru Sjodin. U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley says in court documents that his office “recently encountered attorney staffing issues, which have impacted several attorneys in the office.” Wrigley says so far, 3…

Minnesota Woman To Face The Death Penalty In Florida Murder

Lois Riess is accused of murdering her husband and a Florida woman

FORT MYERS, Florida — Florida prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Lois Riess. The Minnesota woman is accused of murdering her husband and a Florida woman before being caught and arrested in Texas. A grand jury in Florida indicted the 56-year-old last month on a first-degree murder charge for the death of 59-year-old Pamela Hutchinson of Fort Myers. A…