RJR Quadruple Homicide Guilty Verdict Surpasses 2021 Bismarck-Mandan Crime Stories | News

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Two high-profile homicides dominated criminal news in the Bismarck-Mandan region this year, but there were several other notable cases.

They included bank fraud, sex crimes, drugs hidden in boxes of ramen noodles and a jury trial incident in which a judge used a famous movie line to scold a prosecutor, who was fired before the verdict.

The trial of a man accused of shooting and stabbing four people to death in Mandan in 2019 drew national attention to the Morton County courthouse in August.

The guilty verdict in the case Chad Isaak, 47, tops the region’s crime stories list in 2021. A jury deliberated for 4.5 hours over two days before finding the Washburn chiropractor guilty of four counts of murder and three less serious counts. He was charged in April 2019 with the death of RJR Maintenance and Management co-owner Robert Fakler, 52; and employees Adam Führer, 42; Bill Cobb, 50; and Lois Cobb, 45. The Cobbs were married.

Their deaths were detailed in a three-week trial through crime scene and autopsy photos, DNA and fiber evidence, and a video which prosecutors said showed Isaak planned and committed. the crimes. Three of the victims were shot and all four suffered more than 100 stab wounds that the prosecution team, led by Morton County deputy lawyer Gabrielle Goter, said they were treated by someone with a medical history . Isaak, a former Navy medic, owned a house that was on property managed by RJR, but no clear motive for the killings has been established.

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Defense lawyers called the case “confirmation bias,” suggesting that investigators just days after the murders identified Isaak as the killer and focused their efforts solely on him. Defense lawyer Bruce Quick said authorities overlooked or ignored other potential suspects, including angry tenants, the ex-husband of a woman with whom Robert Fakler had a long-standing affair, and members of a biker gang who had been kicked out of an RJR party.

Murder charges carry a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Isaak’s sentencing is Tuesday.

Rather, the trial of two people accused of killing a Bismarck man two years ago will be the trial of one. Earl Howard, 43, of Belwood, Ont., Pleaded guilty in October to arson, as well as murder, arson and tampering with evidence in the death of 42-year-old Chad Entzel. He was to stand trial as a co-accused with Nikkisue Entzel. , 40, wife of Chad Entzel. The pair have been charged with killing Chad Entzel in what authorities have called a love triangle with plans to cash out a life insurance policy.

Howard has struck a plea deal that will put him behind bars for 25 years with decades more if he violates probation after his release. He will be sentenced on January 21. The trial of Nikkisue Entzel for conspiracy to murder, arson conspiracy and conspiracy to tamper with evidence begins on February 28.

Other notable crime

After reviewing a report from the State Bureau of Criminal Investigations, prosecutors authorized a North Dakota Highway Patrol soldier who shot dead a man on Interstate 94 west of Mandan in October. Private Steven Mayer “was justified in discharging his gun to defend himself and others,” said Goter, the Morton County district attorney. Mayer fired when Craig Knutson, 45, of Billings, MT, held up a gun and pointed it at Mayer. The shooting followed a high-speed chase.

Three bank workers in western North Dakota were indicted in November by a federal grand jury with embezzlement and other charges. Authorities say Brady Torgerson, 34, attempted to defraud The Union Bank in Glen Ullin and First Security Bank-West in Beulah by issuing funds to people who are not entitled to it, not recording transactions , creating fraudulent loan obligations and masking activities. His father, Brent Torgerson, 60, is accused of issuing a cashier’s check for $ 724,000 to his son without proper papers. Kelly Huffman is said to have issued a check advance of $ 125,000 to another bank at the request of Brady Torgerson.

Mandan Police Officer and K9 Manager Scott Warzecha has pleaded guilty to filming someone under the age of 18 with a hidden cell phone. He was sentenced to five years in prison. Authorities are investigating after responding to a 911 call that Warzecha was threatening to hurt himself after his actions were discovered. The incident was not related to work.

Lance Jacobson, 65, and Jiang Jennings, 57, were sentenced to two years probation after pleading guilty to facilitating prostitution. The charges were filed after a September 2020 raid at the Hong Kong Spa in Bismarck. Spa owner Craig Grorud pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution and was sentenced to two years probation.

Clancey Lone Fight, 34, was sentenced to seven years in prison for ruling authorities in a January lawsuit that ended in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Passenger Gabriella Perez-Goodbird, 19, suffered severe frostbite but survived two nights in the park in sub-zero wind chills after the two separated.

Also note

Former Mandan Town Commissioner and Morton County Commissioner Robert Christensen, 64, and another man were sentenced to probation and ordered to compensate a woman whose bank account they were using on their own. own purposes.

In September, lawyers reached an agreement on the sixth day of a civil trial following a fatal house explosion in 2016 north of Mandan. A lawyer representing the children of Clyde and Elizabeth Howe said the details of the settlement are confidential.

Diego Ashton, 29, of Bismarck, was sentenced in September to 43 years in prison for shooting Robert Becker 11 times in October 2020. Ashton told authorities he was “fed up” with Becker’s comments about his mental health problems.

Dawson Rouse, 22, of Bismarck, reached a plea deal in December on 21 federal pedophilia charges. Authorities say he befriended girls on social media, harassed some of them until they sent him inappropriate pictures and allegedly had sex with six of them. He will be sentenced in April.

A judge in September ordered a new trial for a man convicted in 2019 of raping a Lyft client. South Central District Judge Bobbi Weiler said Corey Wickham’s constitutional rights were violated when his lawyer did not object to police testimony which then impacted the jury’s decision.

A 22-year-old Bismarck accused of crashing into a Bismarck gun store and stealing weapons has also been charged with shooting electrical equipment which caused blackouts in 1,000 Mandan homes. Tjaden Smith faces multiple charges in Burleigh and Morton counties.

A judge sentenced Bertha Harper, 86, to two years probation following a June 2020 accident in which pedestrian Amber Rebel was killed.

Frank Gasper, the North Dakota FBI agent who brought Jamaican lottery crooks to justice, retired in April after 25 years in office.

The unusual

Less serious but still interesting are cases that took unexpected turns in 2021.

A tattoo artist was acquitted of causing $ 18,000 in graffiti damage and a deputy prosecutor was fired during the trial. Richard Hudson, 33, has been accused of spray painting the word CRAN – his label or logo – on a number of Bismarck businesses. After 10 minutes of deliberation, jurors returned a verdict of not guilty, but Burleigh County Assistant State Attorney Scott Miller was not in the courtroom to hear it. State Attorney Julie Lawyer fired him after he got into a fight and was reprimanded by Judge John Grinsteiner, who at one point borrowed a line from the movie “Top Gun” when Miller attempted to interrupt him, telling the prosecutor “negative, Ghost Rider, the model is filled.”

A Bismarck police officer was reprimanded for using harsh language as he tried to arrest a man who had boarded State Street in August. Officer Mark Muscha received a verbal reprimand and skateboarder Seth Voegele, 32, was charged with preventing the arrest. Three months later, Mandan police used a Taser on Voegele as he allegedly fled and resisted arrest after riding his skateboard in front of traffic.

In September, North Dakota state soldiers arrested two people after they found 10 pounds of marijuana hidden in a delivery van loaded with three pallets of ramen noodles. Tariq Alexander, 28, and Latifah Rivers, 24, both of Philadelphia, told the soldiers they were transporting the noodles from Washington to New York and didn’t know the marijuana was there.

A man from Bismarck started a fire in an apartment when he allegedly boiled cooking oil to throw it at gang members trying to enter his apartment. John Linder, 33, has pleaded not guilty to endangerment by fire.

The North Dakota Supreme Court has granted a jury trial to a Wisconsin Trump supporter charged with an offense for using public land to sell Trump merchandise. Eric Smith’s trial date is not provided in court documents.

Contact Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or [email protected]

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