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New murder trial denied for north-central ND man

Bradley Morales

MINOT, N.D. — A judge has denied a new trial for Bradley Morales, 28, Minot, who was convicted in May of the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Sharmaine Leake.

In an order filed Sept. 4, North Central District Court Judge Doug Mattson said there was sufficient evidence to convict Morales of murder.

Morales filed a motion in June claiming he should be granted a new trial because the state had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he exhibited extreme indifference to human life when he stabbed Leake in the neck with a steak knife on Aug. 16, 2017. Morales said at trial that the stabbing was an accident, but the prosecution presented evidence to the contrary.

According to their theory of the crime, Morales sneaked into Leake's residence, got into an argument with her and stabbed her as she was trying to escape.

Leake, 25, the mother of Morales' three young children, never regained consciousness. Morales had previously been convicted on multiple occasions of domestic violence against Leake.

Morales is scheduled to be sentenced for the murder on Sept. 28 in district court in Minot. He faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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