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Published February 02, 2012, 10:41 AM

2 Men Charged With Murder Conspiracy in Beulah Shooting

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Two men charged in a shooting in Beulah that killed a man and injured his brother were being held on $1 million bond Thursday following their initial court appearances.

By: Blake Nicholson, Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Two men charged in a shooting in Beulah that killed a man and injured his brother were being held on $1 million bond Thursday following their initial court appearances.

Richard Whitman, 29, of Hazen, and Cody Borner, 24, of Stanton, face two counts of conspiracy to commit murder, a charge that carries a maximum punishment of life in prison. Borner also faces a misdemeanor drug charge. Both requested court-appointed attorneys during their appearances at the Mercer County Courthouse in Stanton.

Michael Padilla, 22, was killed Tuesday night in his Beulah apartment, and his 21-year-old brother, Timothy Padilla of Billings, Mont., was injured.

Sheriff Dean Danzeisen told The Associated Press on Thursday that it is possible the shooting is drug-related but that authorities are still investigating.

"We still have a victim in the hospital and we have witnesses in different locations," he said.

Timothy Padilla was taken to a Bismarck hospital where he underwent surgery after the shooting, Danzeisen said. His condition was not immediately available Thursday.

Sheriff's Capt. Mark Schmitt said in an affidavit that authorities recovered an assault rifle and a .22-caliber pistol at the scene of the shooting, along with shell casings. Police also seized ammunition from Borner's home matching the ammo found at the shooting scene, he said.

Schmitt's affidavit identifies Whitman as a former boyfriend of the Padilla brothers' mother. Schmitt said Shirley Padilla was at the apartment and witnessed the shooting. Another man in the apartment, Avalino Lopez, told Schmitt he heard four or five shots before he jumped out a window.

Court documents show that Whitman has a lengthy criminal record in Mercer and Burleigh counties involving crimes ranging from property theft to terrorizing. Borner's criminal history consists of minor traffic offenses.

Danzeisen said it has been several decades since Beulah, a city of 3,000 people in the heart of North Dakota's coal country, has had a homicide.

"There are a few (residents) who are shaken," he said. "I think this is isolated. We haven't had this type of issue in years and years."

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Associated Press Writer Dave Kolpack contributed to this story from Fargo, N.D.

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