Prosecutors Begin Round 2 Of Arguing Rodriguez Death Penalty

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Prosecutors in North Dakota’s first and only death penalty case say defense attorneys are wrong by claiming the judge didn’t go far enough in explaining why he threw out the sentence for Alfonso Rodriguez Jr.

Rodriguez was convicted of killing University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin.

Judge Ralph Erickson in September ordered a new sentencing phase be conducted, saying his defense team failed to consider key factors. Defense attorneys filed a motion arguing that the judge left out Rodriguez’s intellectual disability as one of those factors.

In a response filed Friday, prosecutors said Rodriguez’s attorneys “flatly fail to establish the existence of a manifest error or newly discovered evidence” and “cannot satisfy the very stringent standard to warrant alteration or amendment.”