Judge rejects 2 motions in Spirit Lake killingsFARGO, N.D. (AP) — A federal judge has rejected arguments by a man who said he should receive a new trial or be acquitted for the brutal killings of two children on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation.
FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A federal judge has rejected arguments by a man who said he should receive a new trial or be acquitted for the brutal killings of two children on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation.
A federal jury in September found Valentino "Tino" Bagola guilty for the May 2011 slayings of 9-year-old Destiny Jane Shaw-Dubois and her 6-year-old brother, Travis Lee DuBois Jr. Authorities said the victims were stabbed a total of 100 times.
Defense attorney Christopher Lancaster said in court documents that the jury verdict was not supported by the evidence. He said Bagola's confession was coerced by agents and unreliable because the information he gave was common knowledge from the investigation.
U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson said in a ruling released Thursday that the defense "has not demonstrated a single error" that deprived Bagola of a fair trial.
"There is sufficient evidence to establish each essential element beyond a reasonable doubt," the judge said.
A spokesman for the federal public defender's office did not immediately respond to an interview request. Prosecutors declined to comment.
The jury found Bagola, 22, guilty of two counts of felony first degree murder and acquitted him on two counts of premeditated first degree murder. Lancaster argued during trial that the children's father, Travis DuBois Sr., was responsible for their deaths.
The elder DuBois told investigators he committed the crimes, but later recanted his story.
"This case was complicated in a sense that there were two confessions," Erickson said. "Neither confession matched the crime scene perfectly."
Sentencing for Bagola is scheduled for Dec. 16. Bagola faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.