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FARGO, N.D. -- Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. stands guilty of kidnapping and killing Dru Sjodin. What jurors in his federal trial in Fargo must now decide is whether the case qualifies for the death penalty. To help them answer that question, jurors beginning today will hear from prosecutors who must prove at least one "threshold" factor and one "aggravating" factor in what will amount to a mini-trial on the question of eligibility. Four threshold factors cited by the government allege Rodriguez attacked Sjodin with the intention of hurting or killing her.
FARGO, N.D. -- Court watchers were surprised last week by what they didn't hear during opening arguments in the federal trial of Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. There was no emphatic denial of the crime from Rodriguez's defense attorney, Robert Hoy. Presumption of innocence was mentioned, but not belabored.