Eastern North Dakota man dies after tree falls on him in Black Hills

RAPID CITY, S.D. — A North Dakota man is dead after authorities say a tree fell on him in the Black Hills Saturday afternoon, July 27.

The incident involved a group riding ATVs in the Black Hills National Forest about 25 miles west of Rapid City, according to Pennington County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Helene Duhamel. The group stopped to put on rain gear when a spruce tree about 17 inches in diameter fell onto Nathan Hoag, 44, of Arthur, which is about 30 miles northwest of Fargo.

A Pennington County deputy responded just before 6 p.m. The group told authorities they weren't able to move the tree and that they heard a loud crash but did not recall seeing a flash from lightning.

Authorities weren't exactly sure what caused the accident, but Duhamel said the Black Hills region had a lot of severe weather this year, which has caused many trees to fall.

Duhamel said no autopsy will be performed on Hoag.

Missing baby's mom misses scheduled court date; warrant issued

BISMARCK — A Bismarck woman whose baby was the subject of a search and Amber Alert in June did not show up in court Monday, July 29, for a scheduled appearance, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

Dawn Morsette, 27, was scheduled for a preliminary hearing on felony charges of child neglect and preventing arrest, but neither she nor an attorney for her was present. South Central District Judge David Reich issued a no-bond bench warrant for Morsette, who was arrested for child neglect in late June after being unable to give police any information about her 7-month-old daughter’s whereabouts.

The baby, LeahMae Dawn Morsette, was dropped off anonymously at the Sanford Health emergency room after family and law enforcement searched nearly a day for the infant.

The issuance of a no-bond warrant means Dawn Morsette will stay in custody once arrested until she appears before a judge, Burleigh County Assistant State’s Attorney Mindy Anderson said.

Morsette's bail was set at $2,500 in June. She was in court again in mid-July, when she pleaded guilty to ingesting a controlled substance, according to court documents. She was placed on probation and ordered to get treatment. She also has a previous child neglect conviction in 2015.

Fargo man sentenced to a year for possessing child porn

FARGO — A 40-year-old Fargo man will spend a year behind bars on charges connected to child pornography.

Dallas Ryan Yetter appeared in Cass County District Court on Monday, July 29, where Judge Stephanie Stiel sentenced him on three charges of possession of certain materials prohibited.

In April, Yetter entered an Alford plea on the three charges, meaning he did not admit guilt but acknowledged there is enough evidence for a judge or a jury to convict him if the case went to trial.

Following a year of incarceration, Yetter will be placed on three years of supervised probation.

Two additional charges of possession of certain materials prohibited were dismissed.

According to court documents, law enforcement authorities executed a search warrant in February 2018 at Yetter’s residence.

Yetter’s computer was seized and authorities found several images of suspected of child pornography, court papers show.

Man sentenced to 19 1/2 years for murder of cousin

BISMARCK — A New Town man accused of stabbing and killing his cousin in a May 2018 altercation on the Fort Berthold Reservation was sentenced Monday, July 29, in federal court to 19½ years in prison, but family members said no sentence can replace what they lost and one question remains unanswered.

“Why?” asked Victor Rios, brother of victim David Rios, during the sentencing of Donovan Duchaine, 27, the Bismarck Tribune reported. Duchaine in April reached a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of David Rios. Prosecutors in turn dropped a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.

The prosecution asked for a 188-month sentence, balancing a possibility that David Rios may have thrown the first punch in the fight. The judge said it would be “very unusual” for a second-degree murder conviction to carry a sentence as short as that recommended by attorneys.

Duchaine also must spend five years on supervised probation after his release and make restitution of $7,619 to David Rios’ family, mostly to pay for funeral expenses.

Devils Lake man dead after crashing into pole

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. — A 52-year-old Devils Lake man is dead after he crashed his pickup into an electric pole Saturday evening, July 27, according to the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

Le Roy Schocker Jr. was driving south on state Highway 20 near Devils Lake around 6:30 p.m. Saturday when his Dodge Dakota left the roadway and struck a utility pole. The vehicle then caught fire.

Schocker died at the scene.

The crash remains under investigation.

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