Hearing in North Dakota death penalty case could last 7 days - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Hearing in North Dakota death penalty case could last 7 days

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Alfonso Rodriguez, Jr. Alfonso Rodriguez, Jr.
Dru Sjodin Dru Sjodin

By DAVE KOLPACK
Associated Press

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A hearing in the appeal of a man sentenced to death for killing University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin will delve into gruesome details.

Attorneys for Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. are set to argue whether Sjodin was raped and whether she died from wounds to her throat. The defense says both points were used to sway the jury in the death penalty phase. Prosecutors say the arguments have no merit.

Rodriguez has been on death row in federal prison since 2003. His final appeal was filed more than five years ago.

Sjodin's mother, Linda Walker, says the hearing will discuss "hard aspects" of the case, but listening to the arguments pale in comparison to what her daughter endured in her final moments.

The hearing starts Tuesday.

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