Members of the North Dakota Supreme Court heard an appeal from the defense in the Omar Kalmio homicide case Tuesday afternoon in Grand Forks.
Omar Kalmio was charged with murdering Sabrina Zephier, Jolene Zephier, Dylan Zephier, and Jeremey Longie in January 2011. He was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences without parole in Ward County District Court. Today, the defense asked for judgment to be reversed.
Whether or not trial court focused too much on Kalmio's prior bad acts was a hot topic during Tuesday's appeal, especially because there was no concrete evidence presented during the trial back in February.
"I don't have any rule that circumstantial, that evidence is more or less prejudice, because the case is circumstantial, is it?" says Justice Dale V. Sandstrom.
Appellant Russell Myhre says it was unfairly prejudice to use the victims state of mind as evidence.
"Was there other evidence if we excluded the bad acts, if we excluded assault, and evidence of her fear of him, the victim's fear of him, what other evidence was there in the record that he committed these murders?" says Justice Mary Muehlen Maring.
"Well, in terms of answering the direct question, we don't believe there was any direct evidence that did show that he committed the murders," says Myhre.
Assistant States Attorney Kelly Dillon says this was a power and control case.
"Well it sounds like this jury had a lot of color and not much fact that could point to anything to allow the murders themselves," says Justice Carol Ronning Kapsner.
"All of these people were killed with the same weapon, the defendant had in the 2 months prior to these homicides asked for help form the job corps in getting a weapon. He had talked to a coworker about getting a weapon and he superficially mentioned a 9 millimeter, which is the caliber that was used in these murders," says Dillon.
Defense also addressed concern about a detailed power point presentation used in trial that showed pictures of a hand a gun, and that there was a failure to give an alibi instruction to the jury.
It could be up to 3 months before the Supreme Court makes a decision on the outcome of Tuesday's appeal.
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Sunday, March 9 2014 8:50 AM EDT2014-03-09 12:50:18 GMT
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NBC North Dakota News has launched a new channel -- Me-TV North Dakota! If you love the classics, Me-TV North Dakota has them.
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