A judge has sentenced 18-year-old Ian Zachary Laboyd on one count of manslaughter and one count of aggravated assault after Laboyd pleaded guilty to the charges on Thursday, Oct. 15.
The manslaughter charge is in connection with the killing of 19-year-old Matthew York and the aggravated assault charge is in connection with the wounding of 19-year-old Parker Haider.
The sentencing comes after Northwest District Judge Ben Johnson approved a new plea agreement.
The new agreement reduced the number of charges against Laboyd from five to two.
In January 2020, Laboyd pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, aggravated assault, possession of stolen property, delivery of a controlled substance and tampering with physical evidence.
But per the new agreement brought forth on Thursday, Laboyd pleaded guilty to the Class B felony of manslaughter and the Class C felony of aggravated assault. The other three charges were dismissed.
For the first count of manslaughter, Johnson sentenced Laboyd to serve 10 years with the North Dakota Department of Corrections. Johnson also noted that there is a four-year mandatory minimum that he must serve and the “85 percent rule” does apply in this case.
What that means is, Laboyd must serve 85 percent of his sentence without the possibility of parole.
Additionally, Laboyd will have to pay $675 in mandatory court fees and he will receive credit for 337 days served as of Oct. 15.
For the second count of aggravated assault Laboyd will serve two years out of the five-year sentence, after which he will serve five years of supervised probation.
He will have to complete a chemical dependency evaluation as well.
Laboyd is not allowed to have any contact with the York or Haider families.
Restitution for both counts (burial expenses for York and medical expenses for Haider) are to be determined.
Johnson addressed the courtroom and said that his decision on Thursday was to accept or reject the agreement.
He pointed out that he was not trying to make any statements about what facts are correct or who is right and who is wrong, rather he was just making a determination on whether the agreement is appropriate.
“I don’t have any other discretion other than that,” Johnson said, addressing the court room before he announced his decision to accept the agreement. “Nothing I say here today will change anything that happened last November. Nothing I say here today will bring anybody back who’s not here.”
After he announced that he accepted the agreement, he listed several factors that aided in reaching his conclusion.
One of the main factors was that if Laboyd went to trial there would be a huge possibility that it would be an “all or nothing” case, Johnson said.
In other words, there would either be a conviction or there wouldn’t be, and that was a risk the state did not want to take.
Another factor that was taken into consideration was whether Laboyd acted in self defense, which was something his defense had argued from the start.
Johnson clarified that he was not saying that it was or was not self defense, but the concern surrounding that notion was the uncertainty on whether a jury would factually find that self defense was in play.
“By showing up (to the scene where the crime happened), I think it’s fair to say that (Laboyd) thought that there was going to be harm to whoever else showed up,” Johnson said. “I think that’s fair to say, based upon what I heard. On the same hand, I also think that he thought it was likely that he was going to be harmed. I think everybody (involved) was anticipating a confrontation of some sort.”
Johnson concluded that it was clear to him that Laboyd did fire the gun with a purpose, but whether that purpose was in self defense or whether it was not self defense isn’t the determination he has to make.
“I know he fired the gun because he’s admitting guilt, and the act of firing the gun would cause an individual to likely suffer serious harm,” Johnson said.