Attorneys give opening statements in alleged southwest N.D. homicide case

Madison Beth West, 27 of Dickinson, and Chase Duane Swanson, 23 of Bowman, have been charged with conspiracy to commit homicide, a Class AA felony. A Class AA felony faces a most of life in jail with out parole.

The fees stem from the dying of Nicholas Johnson, 23 of Rhame, who was discovered lifeless in a room on the El-Vu motel in Bowman on Aug. 20, 2016.

West and Swanson have additionally been charged with theft of property and Swanson is charged with felon in possession of a firearm, each Class C felonies. West was additionally beforehand charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, nevertheless, that cost was dismissed.

Assistant Lawyer Common Britta Okay. Demello Rice gave the state’s opening assertion. She claimed that Johnson was “crushed past recognition,” was “stomped on” and strangled with a belt, noting Johnson’s explanation for dying was asphyxiation. Demello Rice alleged that Johnson additionally sustained different accidents, together with a damaged rib that lacerated an organ and blunt pressure trauma to the top.

Demello Rice indicated that the 14-individual jury will possible hear from Todd Pashano, who was staying within the El-Vu motel on the time and knew West and Swanson. Pashano has been charged with hindering regulation enforcement, a Class C felony. His trial is scheduled for Might. Demello Rice claimed Pashano noticed what “no particular person ought to ever have to watch” when he got here into the room on Aug. 20.

She claimed the three took Johnson’s car and travelled to Swanson’s household home in rural Bowman County after which made their solution to Cheyenne, Wyo., the place they allegedly dropped a number of bloody gadgets off at West’s father’s residence, together with a few of Johnson’s belongings. The group then drove to Denver the place Pashano referred to as 911 in a lodge, Demello Rice stated. The group was arrested in Denver.

“(Johnson’s mom) won’t ever see her son once more and Madison West and Chase Swanson are liable for that,” Demello Rice informed the jury.

In his opening assertion, Swanson’s lawyer Thomas Murtha stated the state’s opening assertion was “only a principle.” He continued, saying that proof would present there was “no settlement to kill Nicholas Johnson.” He claimed the three—West, Swanson and Johnson—have been on the bar in Bowman and that Johnson needed to have a “three-approach,” which Swanson objected to. Murtha stated the three drank on the bar and ultimately took Johnson’s truck to the El-Vu motel the place Johnson invited himself into West and Swanson’s room.

Murtha continued, alleging Johnson and Swanson “received…

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