North Dakota man sentenced for murder in overdose death of teenage girl
When the 16-year-old girl became unconscious, instead of calling 911, Mark Anthony Rodgers Jr. called multiple friends, asking them to bring Narcan to reverse the overdose, according to court documents. One of those friends came with Narcan and administered it, and told Rodgers to call 911 but Rodgers refused and fled, court documents said.
MINOT, N.D. — A judge sentenced a Minot man to 30 years in prison, with 15 years suspended, on a murder charge for shooting up a 16-year-old girl with a mixture of meth and fentanyl, causing her to overdose and die.
Mark Anthony Rodgers Jr., 34, appeared in a North Central Judicial District courtroom in Minot on Friday, July 22, for his sentencing in the death of the girl, referred to only as “Jane Doe.”
According to court documents, Rodgers injected the girl on the afternoon of Dec. 14, 2020, in a room at the Minot Days Inn.
When she became unconscious, instead of calling 911, Rodgers called multiple friends, asking them to bring Narcan to reverse the overdose.
One of those friends came with Narcan and administered it, and told Rodgers to call 911 but Rodgers refused and fled.
The friend called police and when they arrived at the hotel, he was doing CPR on the victim, who was pronounced dead around 3:30 p.m., about an hour after the friend received the call from Rodgers.
In March of this year, Rodgers pleaded guilty to three felonies: murder, tampering with physical evidence and maintaining a premises for the use, storage or sale of controlled substances. He also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
The murder charge carried a maximum possible sentence of life in prison without parole.
On Friday, Judge Stacy Louser sentenced Rodgers to 30 years in prison, to serve 15 years.
Ward County State’s Attorney Rozanna Larson said an 85% rule applies, meaning Rodgers must serve 12.75 years before he would be eligible for parole.
Rodgers faced a felony charge of corruption of a minor, as he originally had been accused of having sex with the girl. But that count was dismissed on Friday.
In court, Judge Louser asked Rodgers if he had anything to say, to which he replied, “I just feel real sorry for what happened. A lot of poor choices were made that day. I wish I would have done a lot better.”
In handing down the sentence, Louser cited Rodgers’ lack of remorse or empathy for what he’d done and said he’d violated the basic sense of decency in a law-abiding society.
“When Jane Doe needed you, you ran,” Louser said. “Multiple witnesses confirmed you did not try to help her.”
Police said the girl's family members traveled from New Town, North Dakota, the day of her death to identify her body.
New Town is on the Fort Berthold reservation, which is home to the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation.
Larson said several of the victim’s family members were in court Friday, including her mother and grandmother and others who live out of state listened to the sentencing by phone.
Rodgers also faces charges related to his time in the Ward County Jail since the girl’s death, including possession of a controlled substance while incarcerated.
His attorney Steve Mottinger told the judge he hoped to get that matter resolved Friday, but the judge said that would be dealt with at a later date.