Deliberations continue today in Howard trialJurors deliberated much of Wednesday without returning a verdict in the Leron Howard murder trial in Southeast District Court in Jamestown.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
Jurors deliberated much of Wednesday without returning a verdict in the Leron Howard murder trial in Southeast District Court in Jamestown.
The panel of eight women and four men received the case at about 9:15 a.m. after final instructions from Judge Thomas Merrick. Deliberations continued until about 4:45 p.m. before jurors left for the day. Deliberations are expected to resume at 9 a.m. today.
Howard, 35, of Jamestown, is charged with murder and criminal conspiracy in the death of Abdi Ali Ahmed, 18, Jamestown. Ahmed’s body was found in a road ditch near Spiritwood on April 30, 2011. Ahmed died of blunt force trauma and had also been stabbed in the abdomen.
During testimony Tuesday, Howard admitted striking Ahmed twice in the head during an altercation outside a trailer home Howard shared with Janelle Cave, 23.
Cave was convicted of manslaughter and criminal conspiracy in February in the case. She is serving an 11-year sentence.
Steve Mottinger, court-appointed defense attorney, said the facts didn’t fit the definition of murder during his closing arguments Tuesday. He asked that his client instead be convicted of manslaughter.
Fritz Fremgen, Stutsman County state’s attorney, said the case fits the definition of murder.
“This case is about homicide,” he said. “The evidence shows Mr. Howard stabbed Abdi and dragged Abdi.”
The jury was instructed to consider the murder and criminal conspiracy charges first. If they find Howard not guilty of murder they would then consider the lesser included charge of manslaughter.
Murder and criminal conspiracy are Class AA felonies punishable by life in prison without parole. Manslaughter is a Class B felony punishable by 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at email@example.com