JAMESTOWN (NewsDakota.com) – A Jamestown man on trial for murder is expected to take the stand in his own defense.
34-year-old Leron Howard is on trial for murder and criminal conspiracy in the April 2011 death of 18-year-old Abdi Ali Ahmed. He faces up to life in prison without parole.
Defense attorney Steve Mottinger said in opening statements Wednesday that Howard did not mean to kill Ahmed, and will ask jurors to find him guilty of manslaughter. Mottinger says Howard will take the stand to talk about the events surrounding Ahmed’s death.
Also Wednesday, jurors saw photos from the crime scene as witness testimony began. The photos show Ahmed face-down in a mud hole just off a gravel road near Spiritwood, N.D. Sergeant Jason Falk also testified that photos showed two stab wounds to Ahmed’s abdomen area, and defensive cuts on his forearms.
Witnesses testified that Ahmed and Howard were together at The Corner Bar and a house party in Jamestown during the early morning hours of April 30, the day Ahmed’s body was discovered.
Co-defendant Janelle Cave was convicted of manslaughter and criminal conspiracy in February and was sentenced to 11 years in prison for her role in Ahmed’s death.
Ahmed was stabbed and suffered blunt force trauma to the head. A medical examiner testified during Cave’s trial that blunt force trauma to the head was the likely cause of death.
Witness testimony continues Thursday. The trial is scheduled to last until Aug. 24.
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