Jack Dura / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK—Michael Giron told a federal judge that the four months he spent in a pipeline protest camp helped turn his life around from drug addiction. He appeared Thursday in federal court in Bismarck before District of North Dakota Chief Judge Daniel Hovland for his change of plea hearing. Under a plea agreement, Giron, 46, pleaded guilty to civil disorder while prosecutors will move to dismiss his more serious charge of use of fire to commit a federal felony offense.
BISMARCK, N.D. — A Minnesota man has been arrested and charged with attempted murder in connection to an attack last week on a priest in Anamoose, N.D. Chad Vincent Legare, 42, of Alexandria, Minn., is charged with felony counts of attempted murder, aggravated assault and burglary for the alleged physical assault on the Rev. Robert Wapenski, 62, at the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church on Jan. 30 in Anamoose, which is about 100 miles northeast of Bismarck. Records describing the nature of Legare' alleged crimes have been sealed.
BISMARCK — A Dakota Access Pipeline protester whose arm was severely injured in a skirmish with law enforcement has filed a federal lawsuit seeking the return of her clothing and shrapnel from her injury. Attorneys for 22-year-old Sophia Wilansky, of New York, filed the lawsuit Friday, Feb. 2, alleging unlawful deprivation of property, lack of due process and unreasonable seizure. Wilansky's arm was injured in a blast as pipeline protesters and law enforcement clashed at the Backwater Bridge in November 2016.
BISMARCK — Half the gallery stood up when Red Fawn Fallis entered a federal courtroom in Bismarck Monday morning, Jan. 22. Handcuffed and wearing orange and white stripes, she sat with her three attorneys before District of North Dakota Chief Judge Daniel Hovland appeared to discuss details of the plea agreement she signed Sunday. She is accused of firing a handgun as officers arrested her during protest activity against the Dakota Access Pipeline in southern Morton County in October 2016.
GLADSTONE, N.D.—New landowners have closed public access to the flagship sculpture of the Enchanted Highway in a dispute over liability and the creator's lease to the site. Seth and Kayla O'Donnell purchased a 28-acre parcel for an easement to build their house in February 2017. Included in that acreage is the five-acre site of "Geese in Flight," the 110-foot tall metal attraction at the head of the 32-mile statuary road to Regent in southwestern North Dakota.
MANDAN, N.D.—Rodrick Joe has a chance to keep his clean record despite being convicted Thursday as the first Dakota Access Pipeline protester to sustain a felony conviction at trial. Surrogate Judge Daniel El-Dweek convicted the 21-year-old of felony tampering with a public service, stemming from Joe's arrest on Nov. 15, 2016, at a protest on the railroad tracks crossing Morton County Road 82 west of Mandan. "I'm a little disappointed," Joe said after hearing his conviction from the all-day felony court trial at the Morton County Courthouse.
BISMARCK—District of North Dakota Chief Judge Daniel Hovland has denied two motions to suppress evidence and statements from Red Fawn Fallis from when she was arrested at a pipeline protest last year. Fallis, 38, is accused of shooting a handgun at officers during her arrest on Oct. 27, 2016, in a fray alongside State Highway 1806 north of Cannon Ball. Hovland's federal court order came Friday, finding that Fallis' "voluntary" statements weren't derived from interrogation, and therefore are admissible at trial next month.
BISMARCK—In a voluntary confession to a sex crime, a federal prisoner and former North Dakota resident received a slightly lesser sentence for the offense. Under his plea agreement, 28-year-old Richard Garrett Staples pleaded guilty to abusive sexual contact. In November 2016, while imprisoned in Minnesota, he voluntarily disclosed the abuse from 2010 to a counselor.
BISMARCK — Defense and prosecuting attorneys will reconvene in federal court Monday, Dec. 11, as a suppression hearing for Red Fawn Fallis ran out of time Friday. Attorneys defending the Dakota Access protester accused of firing a handgun at arresting officers submitted two motions this fall to suppress all evidence and statements from Fallis at the time of her arrest, arguing her warrantless arrest violated free speech rights.
BISMARCK—One of the earliest arrestees in the Dakota Access protests had his appeal — the first of the protest cases to come before the North Dakota Supreme Court — argued Thursday. Kevin Decker, 46, of St. Joseph, Mo., was arrested Aug. 11, 2016, the first day of arrests in the monthslong pipeline protests. He was tried with eight others last winter in the second Dakota Access trial and convicted by a jury of misdemeanor disorderly conduct for pushing an officer.