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Cloquet man who kidnapped son avoids prison

DULUTH -- A Cloquet, Minn., man who kidnapped his 7-year-old son from his ex-wife for 11 days in March was sentenced Thursday to two years at the Northeast Regional Corrections Center and 10 years of supervised probation and was ordered to undergo chemical dependency and mental health evaluations.

James Leon Nordrum, 42, escaped a 68-month prison sentence when his defense attorney, Terri Port Wright, successfully argued to Judge Heather Sweetland that there were substantial and compelling reasons for her client to be treated locally while on probation and not sent to prison.

Port Wright argued in a written memorandum to the court that Nordrum qualified for a shorter-than-guideline sentence and probation because he didn’t physically harm his son, was cooperative with law enforcement, respectful and remorseful in court, and that he was amenable to probation.

Port Wright said that during the time Nordrum kidnapped his son and held him at a rural cabin in St. Louis County’s Stoney Brook Township that he cooked the child’s favorite meals for him, played with him throughout the day, read his favorite books to him, made sure he was clean and had a comfortable place to sleep.

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