WDAY.com

WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published May 17, 2013, 03:08 PM

Ex-Grand Forks police officer's trial postponed

The trial of a former Grand Forks police officer on charges he held a gun against the head of a UND student at a party last year has been pushed back to September. The defense says it needs to study the police department’s separate internal investigation of the officer and the incident.

By: Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald

The trial of a former Grand Forks police officer on charges he held a gun against the head of a UND student at a party last year has been pushed back to September. The defense says it needs to study the police department’s separate internal investigation of the officer and the incident.

Jace Prelip was charged last fall with felony terrorizing, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Prosecutors say witnesses at a late-night gathering at Prelip’s home last August, including several fellow law enforcement officers, reported Prelip, then 27, held a handgun against the student’s head.

Police Chief John Packett told the Herald he initiated an internal investigation into the incident, separate from the criminal investigation run by the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation. But before the internal investigation was completed, Prelip resigned, Packett said. He had served about three years on the force.

Paul Emerson, an assistant state attorney general prosecuting Prelip, appeared Thursday via telephone from Bismarck at Prelip’s pre-trial conference.

Prelip’s attorney, Daniel Hopper of Fargo, said the defense wanted more time to listen to recorded interviews conducted during the police department’s internal investigation.

Emerson and Hopper told state District Judge Sonja Clapp attempts to strike a plea deal failed and the case should go to trial. Clapp set a trial date for Sept. 26.

Prelip remains free on bond.

Tags: