Feds to Appeal Reversal in Rodriguez Death Penalty Case
FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Federal prosecutors plan to appeal a ruling that overturned the death sentence for a Minnesota man convicted of kidnapping and killing a University of North Dakota student.
A jury in 2006 convicted Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., of Crookston, Minnesota, in the killing of 22-year-old Dru Sjodin, of Pequot Lakes, Minnesota. The same jury sentenced Rodriguez to death in the first and only federal capital punishment case in North Dakota.
Prosecutors filed a one-page notice Thursday with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that they were challenging the ruling by Judge Ralph Erickson, who oversaw Rodriguez’s trial and is now a member of the 8th Circuit. Last year Erickson ordered a new sentencing phase for Rodriguez after ruling that Rodriguez’s constitutional rights were violated.