27 March 2022 :
Feds to appeal reversal in Alfonso Rodriguez death penalty case. Federal prosecutors plan to appeal a ruling that overturned the death sentence for a man convicted of kidnapping and killing a University of North Dakota student. A jury in 2006 convicted Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., in the killing of 22-yearold Dru Sjodin. The same jury sentenced Rodriguez to death in the 1st and only federal capital punishment case in North Dakota. Prosecutors filed a onepage notice Thursday (March 3) with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that they were challenging the ruling by Judge Ralph Erickson. Last year Erickson ordered a new sentencing phase for Rodriguez after ruling that misleading testimony from the coroner, the failure of lawyers to outline the possibility of an insanity defense, and evidence of severe post-traumatic stress disorder had violated Rodriguez’s constitutional rights. Authorities said Rodriguez, a convicted sex offender, kidnapped Sjodin from the parking lot of a shopping mall in Grand Forks in 2003 and drove her to Minnesota, where he killed her and left her body in a field. Rodriguez was charged under federal law because Sjodin was taken across state lines. Rodriguez remains locked up at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.