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Judge orders life in prison for man convicted for two murders in Fargo

Ashley Hunter appears in Cass County District Court on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015, on charges of murdering two people in June. Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service

FARGO — Convicted of two murders and arson, Ashley Hunter was sentenced here Tuesday, Sept. 5, to life in prison without the possiblity of parole.

Hunter's convictions came in June after a two-week trial in Cass County District Court.

Hunter's attorney, Samuel Gereszek, insisted during the trial that prosecutors had a weak case and suggested two other people may have been responsible for the deaths of Clarence Flowers and Samuel Traut in June 2015.

The murders took place over over the span of several hours on June 22 and 23, 2015. During the trial, prosecutors said Flowers was stabbed 77 times in his Fargo apartment over what Hunter perceived as slights, including Flowers' attempting to pursue Hunter's female friends.

Several hours later, Hunter then killed Traut with several blows to the back of the head, after Hunter showed up at Traut's back door and asked for a glass of water.

Cass County State's Attorney Birch Burdick strongly suggested Hunter's meth use fueled the crimes and presented videos of Hunter essentially confessing to police the morning after his 2015 arrest.

Burdick linked physical evidence to details Hunter revealed in his statement to police. He said the murder of Flowers was personal to Hunter, while the murder of Traut was due to paranoia, Hunter thought Traut was going to call police to turn him in.

A jury took only a few hours to find Hunter guilty of all counts.

Gereszek filed letters with the court written by Hunter that said local media, his race and "lack of status in the community" prevented him from having a fair trial.

Dave Olson
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