Inmate testifies in Gibbs trial

The Forum MINOT -- Jurors on Thursday watched Moe Maurice Gibbs repeatedly deny having anything to do with Mindy Morgenstern's death. He told investigators in a videotaped interview that "he could care less about DNA" after being told his was fou...

The Forum

MINOT -- Jurors on Thursday watched Moe Maurice Gibbs repeatedly deny having anything to do with Mindy Morgenstern's death.

He told investigators in a videotaped interview that "he could care less about DNA" after being told his was found on Morgenstern's slain body.

But a fellow inmate of Gibbs' testified Thursday that while in the Cass County Jail he heard Gibbs acknowledge killing Morgenstern.

Jeremy Leopold said he heard Gibbs say "I'd do it again," when a news report of his trial being moved to Minot appeared on television in December.


Leopold said he eventually told authorities about Gibbs' statement around January after finding religion.

The defense attacked Leopold's credibility Thursday, reading off a list of felony convictions that include theft, forgery and false information to law enforcement.

Leopold, 30, said he was unsure what day the story aired, but a representative of the news station said Thursday it was Dec. 13, 2006. A Cass County Jail employee testified Tuesday that Gibbs and Leopold were in the same jail pod at that time.

The roughly 90-minute portion of the Sept. 20 Gibbs interview watched by jurors depicted three investigators peppering him repeatedly to explain how his DNA ended up under Morgenstern's fingernails. It was before he was arrested.

The investigators told the former Barnes County jailer they were giving him a chance because he is a fellow law enforcement official, but told him to "cut (his) losses" and confess before more evidence turns up against him.

Gibbs repeated that he was not involved in his neighbor's death and challenged the investigators, saying "then go find it (the additional evidence)."

"If I did it, I would take responsibility for it, but I know I didn't do it," Gibbs said. He added he would not have volunteered his DNA if he was involved in the Valley City State University senior's death.

But several statements Gibbs made in the Sept. 20 interview conflict with witness' testimony.


Gibbs' ex-wife, Christina Judd, testified Thursday that when she asked Gibbs on Sept. 24 when he had been in Morgenstern's apartment, he told her Sept. 12, the day before the 22-year-old was killed.

In the video, Gibbs told investigators he helped Morgenstern to her apartment three to seven days before she was killed.

Judd's testimony also contradicted Gibbs' statements to police about two scratches on his hands, which the prosecution alleges he received in a struggle with Morgenstern. Judd said Gibbs told her he scratched both hands while moving boxes and said she was unsure but remembered it happening as early as two days before Morgenstern was killed or possibly on Sept. 13.

Gibbs told investigators he scratched himself Sept. 14 and 15, quickly adding, "my wife can verify it," and saying one injury was from moving boxes and another from his stepdaughter's car seat.

Gibbs, 34, also initially said Judd, 24, was present both times, but later said she was only there for one injury. Judd testified Thursday she was not present when either injury took place.

Gibbs in the video, also gave a timeline for his whereabouts on Sept 13, saying he dropped Judd off at work about 12:30 p.m. and returned to the apartment between 12:45 p.m. or 1 p.m.

Judd testified she sent Gibbs a text message asking him at 12:33 p.m. to bring her something to drink. She said she believed he brought it to her about 12:45 p.m. She said he wore the same clothes and she did not smell Pine-Sol on him then or in their apartment when she got home later that day. She did smell it in the building's hallway, she said.

Authorities believe Morgenstern was strangled with her belt and stabbed with two kitchen knives about 12:30 p.m. Sept. 13 before being doused with Pine-Sol.


Jordan Ranum, 25, testified for more than an hour Thursday morning, talking about­ his relationship with Morgenstern and the last conversation the two had about 10:45 a.m. on Sept. 13.

Dennis Fisher, one of Gibbs' defense attorneys, questioned Ranum about his whereabouts that day, asking why the two only spoke once on Sept. 13, compared to the couple's usual multiple times a day. Ranum explained Morgenstern usually was the one to call, adding he "thought about (calling her) a million times" while in the fields.

Ranum, a farmer, testified he was working in the field most of Sept. 13 and said he was seen by his father, Bruce, who testified Thursday he saw his son there about 1:30 p.m.

Gibbs faces a Class AA felony murder charge for Morgenstern's death in her Valley City, N.D., apartment. He faces a maximum sentence of life without parole if convicted.

The Forum and The Jamestown Sun are?both owned by Forum Communications Co.

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