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Published July 09, 2012, 11:48 AM

Montana Man Charged With Murder in Death of ND Man

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A Montana man who crashed a van on a North Dakota highway was charged Monday with kidnapping and murdering a man who was found inside the vehicle.

By: Associated Press,

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A Montana man who crashed a van on a North Dakota highway was charged Monday with kidnapping and murdering a man who was found inside the vehicle.

John Bridges, 42, of Missoula, Mont., is accused of killing Lee Clay, 40, who was a passenger in a van that went in the ditch off Interstate 94 just east of Bismarck on Friday. Highway Patrol Capt. Kyle Kirchmeier said Clay's injuries "didn't match the crash severity."

Bridges made his first court appearance Monday. When Judge Sonna Anderson asked Bridges what he planned to do about a lawyer, he replied: "I just want to plead guilty and get this over with."

The judge asked Bridges to fill out an application for a court-appointed attorney and ordered him held without bond.

Burleigh County prosecutor Lloyd Suhr told the judge that Bridges has been in North Dakota since July 2 and has "an extremely violent" criminal history out of Illinois.

The Bismarck Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/LZkoeS) that Bridges, as a juvenile, was convicted in adult court in 1986 of voluntary manslaughter, attempted murder, unlawful use of weapons, and two counts of aggravated battery. A 1989 court document said Bridges wanted to kill someone just to see how it felt, and the only people he had any feelings for were "his father, whom he loves, and his mother, whom he hates."

Prosecutors have "overwhelming evidence of premeditation" in Clay's death, Suhr said. A knife and hatchet were found in the van Bridges was driving.

Suhr said after the hearing that an autopsy for Clay is scheduled Tuesday morning.

Clay had a Bismarck address, but recently moved from Georgia.


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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