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Published January 08, 2014, 08:35 PM

Brossart brothers to plead guilty in 2011 terrorizing case

Rodney Brossart’s three sons have agreed to plead guilty to terrorizing law enforcement officers by brandishing weapons at deputies the day Brossart was arrested in June 2011 in a dispute over a neighbor’s three cows and three calves wandering on to his farm near Lakota, N.D.

By: Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald

Rodney Brossart’s three sons have agreed to plead guilty to terrorizing law enforcement officers by brandishing weapons at deputies the day Brossart was arrested in June 2011 in a dispute over a neighbor’s three cows and three calves wandering on to his farm near Lakota, N.D.

Brossart was convicted Nov. 7 by a Grand Forks jury of a similar felony terrorizing charge and is set to be sentenced Tuesday by retired state District Judge Joel Medd. The jury also convicted him of two misdemeanor counts of preventing arrest and violating the state’s stray cattle laws, but acquitted him of a felony theft charge relating to the cattle and of a misdemeanor count of damaging a deputy’s vehicle during his arrest.

An hour before Brossart is to be sentenced Tuesday morning, Medd has slated change-of-plea hearings for Thomas, Jacob and Alex Brossart, according to court documents filed this week.

The three sons each are charged with a similar Class C felony terrorizing count with a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Earlier last year, a felony assault charge against Brossart’s daughter, Abby Brossart, alleging she hit a Nelson County deputy during Brossart’s arrest June 23, 2011, was dismissed by special prosecutor Cameron Sillers of Langdon, N.D., as part of resolving the case.

Last spring, Medd rejected an earlier plea deal in which all the charges against Brossart and his four children would end up as misdemeanors with no jail time and instead, scheduled the cases for felony trials.

Neighbors and Nelson County sheriff Kelly Janke had publicly criticized that plea deal a year ago, saying they wanted a felony conviction against Brossart, citing his long history of feuding with neighbors and local officials over property boundaries and other issues. Neighbors said for years they had feared the Brossarts because they carried firearms in their tractors and vehicles, would resort to violence, and that only a felony conviction that would bar him from possessing firearms was acceptable.

On Monday, the three Brossart brothers, through their attorney Ross Brandborg, filed notice they would change their pleas to guilty.

Medd, who retired Sept.1 but pledged to see the Brossarts’ cases through, canceled the brothers’ trials scheduled for Jan. 21 and set their plea hearings for Tuesday.

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