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ND Supreme Court rejects appeal by man convicted of killing Grand Forks police officer

In July 2021, Pendleton was found guilty of two charges of murder in the deaths of his mother, Lola Moore, and Grand Forks Police Officer Cody Holte.

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Salamah Pendleton, testifies Monday, July 12, 2021, at the Grand Forks County Courthouse. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — The man who killed his mother and a Grand Forks Police Department officer two years ago has lost an appeal to the North Dakota Supreme Court.

In July 2021, Salamah Pendleton was found guilty of two charges of murder in the deaths of his mother, Lola Moore, and Officer Cody Holte .

The incident occurred at a Grand Forks apartment building in May 2020, and also resulted in seven other charges against Pendleton. Along with the two guilty verdicts on the murder charges, he was found guilty on five other counts, including:

  • Attempted murder of Grand Forks County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Kelly McLean.
  • Attempted murder of Sheriff's Office Cpl. Ron Nord, who was wounded that day.
  • A charge of terrorizing.
  • A charge of reckless endangerment.
  • And a charge of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.

He was found not guilty of attempted murder of Grand Forks Police Cpl. Pat Torok and a charge of criminal mischief.

Pendleton is serving life in prison without parole.

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The incident came after deputies from the Grand Forks Sheriff’s Office attempted to serve eviction papers to Pendleton. After he ran into a back bedroom and refused to come out, the deputies entered the apartment, met by gunshots from Pendleton. Grand Forks Police Department officers, including Holte, came to assist.

During the firefight, Holte and Moore were killed – both at the hands of Pendleton, authorities determined.

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Salamah Pendleton.

In May, Pendleton’s lawyer, Kiara Costa Kraus-Parr, argued in front of the North Dakota Supreme Court, claiming the trial had a number of issues.

Among the arguments:

  • That Pendleton's right to a public trial was violated because various conferences regarding voir dire, jury selection, and trial matters were not conducted in an open courtroom.
  • That the parties exercised peremptory challenges off the record.
  • That he was charged with a non-cognizable offense, attempted knowing murder.
  • That juror misconduct occurred at trial because “one juror was reviewing the notes of another juror.”
  • That the court should have applied the new, reduced penalty to his conviction for possession with intent to deliver marijuana. He requested that the court “reverse and remand Count 9 to be sentenced as a class C felony.” The court did “reverse and remand the district court to re-sentence Pendleton on Count 9.”
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