Murder trial starts for North Dakota man accused of stabbing another in the heart
FARGO-- A jury has been selected in the trial of a Spirit Lake Nation man charged in connection with a stabbing attack that left one man dead and another severely wounded.
He was arrested and charged after police say he killed 52-year-old Richard Dean DeMarce Sr. by hitting him with a truck April 9 and stabbing him in the heart, and also injured 43-year-old Elvis DeMarce by stabbing him six times, causing him to be airlifted from the scene to Altru Hospital.
In federal court Tuesday, U.S. Assistant Attorney Janice Morley told Judge Ralph Erickson that Thundershield had rejected a plea offer in which he would have pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, assault with intent to commit murder, assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in substantial bodily injury and served 28 years in prison.
A 14-person jury was agreed upon by the U.S. Attorney's Office and defense attorney Chris Lancaster Tuesday. The jury will consist of six women and eight men. All of the jurors are white.
Erickson took time to address the racial balance of a white jury deciding the case of a Native American man.
"When you look at bias and prejudice, there's all different levels," Erickson told the jury.
He asked each of them to look into their hearts and ask if they have bias.
"Mr. Thundershield, as we sit around here, is not seeing a lot of Native Americans," he said.
Lancaster also asked potential jurors who had experience on reservations if they had any negative experiences there.
The trial will proceed Wednesday.