Monday, June 19, 2017

Murder of University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin


November 22, 2003 Murder of  University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin  University of North Dakota and Gamma Phi Beta sorority member is missing after he shift at a shopping mall, and her body is not found until snow melts in April 2004.  Level-3 sex offender Alfonso Rodriguez was arrested after admitting he was in the mall and found with knives purchased nearby Rodriguez was just released from jail in May 2003 after completing a 23-year prison term for stabbing and trying to kidnap a woman and also previously pleaded guilty to raping another woman. Lawyers claim Rodriguez is mentally disabled. In 2007, Rodriguez was formally sentenced to death and prison.

Dru Katrina Sjodin  was a murder victim who was abducted from the Columbia Mall parking lot in Grand Forks, North Dakota, by Alfonso Rodriguez, Jr. in the first death penalty case in a century to take place in North Dakota.  Sjodin, a 22-year-old college student at the University of North Dakota and Gamma Phi Beta sorority member, finished her shift at the Victoria's Secret store located in the Columbia Mall in Grand Forks, North Dakota Sjodin's body was recovered on April 17, 2004, just west of Crookston, Minnesota after snow melted. December 1, a suspect, 50-year-old registered level-3 sex offender Alfonso Rodriguez, Jr., was arrested in connection with Sjodin's disappearance. According to police reports, Rodriguez admitted to being near the Columbia Mall the night Sjodin disappeared, and was found with two tool kit knives sold only one mile from the mall, and found a tool kit knife soaking in some type of cleaning solution inside his car. Rodriguez had been released from jail in May 2003 after completing a 23-year prison term for stabbing and trying to kidnap a woman and also previously pleaded guilty to raping another woman. February 8, 2007, Rodriguez was formally sentenced to death and prison in United States Penitentiary, Terre Haute, Terre Haute, Indiana  October 2011, defense attorneys filed a federal habeas corpus motion claiming that Rodriguez is mentally disabled

*Tags
  • College student victim
  • Death Penalty
  • Hispanic suspect
  • North Dakota location
*Reference

Murder of Dru Sjodin - Wikipedia Dru Katrina Sjodin (September 26, 1981 – c. November 22, 2003) was a murder victim who was abducted from the Columbia Mall parking lot in Grand Forks, North Dakota, by Alfonso Rodriguez, Jr., on November 22, 2003. ... It was the first death penalty case in a century to take place in North Dakota. US Attorney Drew ...

Dru Katrina Sjodin (September 26, 1981 – c. November 22, 2003) was a murder victim who was abducted from the Columbia Mall parking lot in Grand ForksNorth Dakota, by Alfonso Rodriguez, Jr., on November 22, 2003.[1] Her disappearance garnered great media coverage throughout the United States and prompted the creation of the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Registry.

Murder[edit]

At 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 22, 2003, Sjodin, a 22-year-old college student at the University of North Dakota and Gamma Phi Beta sorority member, finished her shift at the Victoria's Secret store located in the Columbia Mall in Grand Forks, North Dakota.[2] After shopping for and purchasing a new purse from Marshall Field's, Sjodin left the mall and began walking to her 1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass.[3] During this time, Sjodin was speaking with boyfriend, Chris Lang, on her cell phone. Ten minutes into their conversation, Lang reports Sjodin was saying "Okay, okay," before the call abruptly ended.[4] Lang suspected that the call was just simply dropped and because Sjodin didn't give any sense of urgency, Lang thought nothing of it.[5] About three hours later, Lang received another call from her cell phone, but heard only static and the sound of buttons being pressed.[2] It was reported by authorities this second phone call originated somewhere near Fisher, Minnesota,[6] but that has remained unsubstantiated. With this second call and Sjodin not showing up at her other job at the El Roco nightclub, there was concern for her whereabouts.[7]
A week later, on December 1, a suspect, 50-year-old registered level-3 sex offender Alfonso Rodriguez, Jr.,[8] was arrested in connection with Sjodin's disappearance.[2] According to police reports, Rodriguez admitted to being near the Columbia Mall the night Sjodin disappeared, allegedly viewing the film Once Upon a Time in Mexico at the Columbia Mall Cinema 4. However, that movie was not playing at that theatre or any other theater in the area.[9] The police also found receipts of purchases Rodriguez had made at stores near the mall. Rodriguez apparently had two tool kit knives that could be purchased at only a particular home center store which was about one mile from the mall, but they were not purchased the day Sjodin disappeared and a purchase date for the knives was never established. Police also found a tool kit knife in Rodriguez's car that was soaking in some type of cleaning solution inside a rear wheel well. Rodriguez had been released from jail in May 2003 after completing a 23-year prison term for stabbing and trying to kidnap a woman.[2] Rodriguez had also previously pleaded guilty to raping another woman.
Sjodin's body was recovered on April 17, 2004, just west of Crookston, Minnesota, when deep snow drifts began to melt.[10][11] Crookston is also where Rodriguez lived with his mother.[12] Sjodin's body was found partially nude and face down in a ravine.[13][14] Her hands were tied behind her back and she had been beaten, stabbed, sexually assaulted, and had several lacerations including a five-and-a-half inch cut on her neck. A rope was also tied around her neck and remnants of a shopping bag were found under the rope, suggesting that a bag had been placed on her head. The medical examiner concluded that she had either died as a result of the major neck wound, from suffocation, or from exposure to the elements. Thousands of people had helped search for the young woman and hundreds attended her funeral.[6]

Trial[edit]

The trial was held in federal court because Sjodin was taken across state lines.[14][15] This meant that Alfonso Rodriguez, Jr., was eligible to receive the death penalty if convicted, a possibility not allowed under North Dakota or Minnesota law, neither of which has the death penalty. It was the first death penalty case in a century to take place in North Dakota.[16] US Attorney Drew Wrigley and Assistant US Attorneys Keith Reisenauer and Norman Anderson prosecuted the case against Rodriguez. On August 30, 2006, Rodriguez was convicted in federal court of the murder of Dru Sjodin, and on September 22, 2006, he was sentenced to death.[17]On February 8, 2007, Rodriguez was formally sentenced to death and prison in United States Penitentiary, Terre HauteTerre Haute, Indiana.[18][19] U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson arranged that Rodriguez would be executed in South Dakota.[20]
Rodriguez maintains that he is innocent. In October 2011, defense attorneys filed a federal habeas corpus motion claiming that Rodriguez is mentally disabled.[21]

Legacy[edit]

Legislation dubbed "Dru's Law", which set up the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Registry, was passed in 2006 and signed into law by President George W. Bush.
In 2004, a scholarship in Sjodin's name was set up at the University of North Dakota. Past winners include: Alyson Wilhelmi (2006), Meg Towner (2007), Rebecca Bahnmiller (2008), Victoria Mauch (2009), Seinquis Slater (2010), Grace Torguson (2011), and Sonja Collin (2012).,[22] Breana Egeland (2016)
A memorial garden for Sjodin opened in her hometown of Pequot Lakes, Minnesota,[23] and another is planned for the UND campus.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Jump up
  1. ^ "Judge sentences Alfonso Rodriguez, Jr. to death". Minnesota Public Radio. February 2, 2007. Retrieved July 23, 2007.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Hewitt, Bill (December 15, 2003). "Searching for Dru". People. 60 (24). Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  3. Jump up^ "Hundreds expected to search for missing student". CNN. December 3, 2003. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  4. Jump up^ "Sheriff: 'No chance we'll find Dru alive'". CNN. December 9, 2003. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  5. Jump up^ "Sjodin's Boyfriend Missed Phone Call Urgency". ABC News. August 30, 2006. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b "Phone Calls May Provide Clues in Missing Student Case". ABC News. January 6, 2006. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  7. Jump up^ Davis, Lisa (November 30, 2003). "Leads grow cold for missing student". Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved February 7, 2016.
  8. Jump up^ "Renewed Calls for Tough Sex Offender Laws". The New York Times. Associated Press. November 22, 2008. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  9. Jump up^ Lee, Steve (December 10, 2003). "Affidavit paints grim picture". Grand Forks Herald. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  10. Jump up^ "Found at Last". People. 61 (17). May 3, 2004. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  11. Jump up^ Lee, Steve (November 16, 2013). "10 years after UND student's murder, Dru Sjodin's mother and others remember". Grand Forks Herald. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  12. Jump up^ Kolpack, Dave (May 22, 2006). "Prosecutors oppose moving Rodriguez trial to Minnesota". Farmers Independent. Associated Press. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  13. Jump up^ Kolpack, Dave (August 14, 2006). "Sjodin trial opening statements made". The Bismarck Tribune. Associated Press. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  14. ^ Jump up to:a b Sander, Libby (February 9, 2007). "Judge Imposes Death in Killing of North Dakota Student". The New York Times. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  15. Jump up^ "Man Found Guilty in College Student's Slaying". Los Angeles Times. August 31, 2006. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  16. Jump up^ Kolpack, Dave (September 22, 2006). "Death Sentence for Student's Slaying". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  17. Jump up^ Kolpack, Dave (September 22, 2006). "Jurors sentence Rodriguez to death in Sjodin case". La Crosse Tribune. Associated Press. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  18. Jump up^ Alfano, Sean (February 8, 2007). "Student Killer Formally Sentenced To Death". CBS News. Associated Press. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  19. Jump up^ Minnesota Department of Corrections info on Rodriguez
  20. Jump up^ Wagner, Steve. "On death row, killer of UND student Dru Sjodin questions juror conduct in death penalty sentencing." The Bemidji Pioneer. August 6, 2015. Retrieved on June 5, 2016.
  21. Jump up^ "Dru Sjodin's parents in court as Alfonso Rodriguez's death-row case continues". Associated Press. May 21, 2013. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
  22. Jump up^ 2012 Dru Sjodin Memorial Scholarship awarded to UND junior, Bismarck native
  23. Jump up^ Forliti, Amy (August 13, 2006). "A memorial in her hometown allows friends, family to remain connected to slain student Dru Sjodin". Houston Chronicle. Associated Press. Retrieved January 1, 2016.

External links[edit]


Alfonso Rodriguez | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers
murderpedia.org/male.R/r/rodriguez-alfonso.htm
On December 1, 2003, 50-year-old Alfonso Rodriguez, Jr., was arrested in connection ... Neither North Dakota nor neighboring Minnesota have the death penalty, but ... FARGO, N.D. — A rapist who killed college student Dru Sjodin six months ...



*Sources 



*Timeline 


www.fox9.com/news/262245667-story
June 18 2017  Attorneys for Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., who has been on death row at a federal prison in Indiana since 2003, are disputing whether Rodriguez raped University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin and...

Dru Sjodin's killer fights death penalty - Story | KMSP - Fox 9
www.fox9.com/news/227166080-story
Jan 4, 2017 - While a federal jury sentenced Rodriguez to death more than a ... In 2003, Sjodin, a 22-year-old college student at the University of North ...

Student's killer eligible for death penalty - NBC News
www.nbcnews.com/id/14719454/ns/us.../t/students-killer-eligible-death-penalty/
Sep 7, 2006 - A 53-year-old Minnesota man is eligible for the death penalty for the ... Jury must now decide whether Rodriguez to be executed for Sjodin's death ... Dru Sjodin, seen in 2003, was a student at the University of North Dakota.



Man placed on death row after killing UND student in 2003 will appear ...
www.wday.com/.../4095857-man-placed-death-row-after-killing-und-student-2003-w...


Aug 16, 2016 - Man placed on death row after killing UND student in 2003 will ... Rodriguez is on death row for kidnapping and killing Dru Sjodin in 2003.

Legal system churns as Dru Sjodin's killer appeals death sentence ...
https://www.mprnews.org/story/2015/09/09/rodriguez-appeals-death-sentence


Sep 9, 2015 - Nine years after Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. received the death sentence ... in late 2003 for missing University of North Dakota student, Dru Sjodin.