A federal jury on Sept. 22 sentenced to death Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. for the kidnapping and murder of Dru Sjodin, a University of North Dakota student whose funeral was held April 24, 2004, at Crosslake Lutheran Church, Nisswa, Minn. ("Search for missing student ends," June 2004).
The decision marks the first death penalty case in North Dakota in nearly a century. Although the state no longer has the death penalty, it is allowed in federal cases.
Rodriguez took Sjodin across state lines after he kidnapped her from a mall parking lot in Grand Forks, N.D., making this a federal case. Sjodin’s body was found in a ravine near Crookston, Minn.
Following the verdict, defense attorney Richard Ney said he would file a motion for a new trial.
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