The Free Press, Mankato, MN

November 13, 2013

Final appeals filed in Dru Sjodin case

Convicted murderer Alfonso Rodriquez Jr. waits on death row

The Mankato Free Press

---- — FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say defense attorneys for a man sentenced to death for killing a University of North Dakota student were "zealous advocates" for their client who grilled witnesses and sought to exclude numerous pieces of evidence.

The 417-page document filed Wednesday is a response to what is considered the final appeal for Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., convicted for kidnapping and killing Dru Sjodin (shuh-DEEN'), of Pequot Lakes, Minn., in 2003. Rodriguez sits on death row in Indiana.

Rodriguez's appeal claims, among other things, that he is mentally disabled and his lawyers did a poor job of defending him. The appeal asks that the sentence be thrown out or amended.

U.S. attorneys say the verdict "speaks to the strength of the prosecution's case, rather than a failure of the defense team."