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Judge tosses death sentence in slaying of N. Dakota student

Alfonso Rodriguez Jr.
Alfonso Rodriguez Jr.(AP)
Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 11:08 AM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A federal judge has thrown out the death sentence for a man convicted in the 2003 slaying of a North Dakota college student.

Judge Ralph Erickson ruled Friday that misleading testimony from a medical examiner and limitations on mental health evidence violated Alfonso Rodriguez Jr.’s constitutional rights. He ordered a new sentencing phase be conducted.

Rodriguez has been on death row for nearly two decades. He was convicted of killing Dru Sjodin, a Minnesota woman who was abducted from a Grand Forks mall parking lot in November 2003.

Rodriguez, a sex offender, was arrested the following month.

Sjodin’s body wasn’t found until the following April near Crookston, Minnesota.

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