10 years later Dru Sjodin's killer opens up on death row


Federal prosecutors in Fargo, N.D., have released documents that contain transcripts of interviews with Alfonso Rodriguez as part of the government's reply to his last-stage appeal of his sentence.

The Grand Forks Herald reports that the prosecution's medical experts say Rodriguez was not insane when he deliberately killed Dru Sjodin nearly 10 years ago after kidnapping her from a Grand Forks mall.

Rodriguez was convicted of the kidnapping leading to the death of Sjodin in 2006. In early 2007, he was sentenced to death by U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson, and has been on federal death row in Terre Haute, Indiana, since.

In a motion, Assistant U.S. Attorney Keith Reisenauer says the medical experts who interviewed Rodriguez have concluded that he is not mentally retarded, wasn't insane when he killed Sjodin and, by his own account, didn't kill her by accident.

In his own words Rodriguez described the details of his encounter with Sjodin in the parking lot of the shopping mall on Nov. 22, 2003. At the time, Rodriguez was a convicted sex offender from Crookston. Sjodin was a 23-year-old college student at the University of North Dakota.

Rodriguez said in the interview that he had seen Sjodin in the mall some time before he abducted her, the newspaper reported. He claimed to the interviewers that her appearance and clothing reminded him of a girl who allegedly molested him when he was a boy, so he panicked and walked away.

However, in the parking lot of the mall around 5 p.m. Rodriguez followed Sjodin while she was on the phone with her boyfriend. KSTP reports that Rodriguez claims that he displayed a knife to Sjodin while she was in her car, with the door open. Sjodin's mother Linda Walker told the television station that she disputes the claim by Rodriguez that Sjodin's car door was open.

Investigators believe the struggle between Sjodin and Rodriguez may have lasted for some time. Rodriguez claimed to have put a bag over Sjodin's head when she began bleeding from her mouth to prevent blood from getting in his car.

Walker told KSTP that she did not want to know the details in the motion and said Rodriguez is an evil person.

Rodriguez is the only person sentenced to death in North Dakota in a century. His appeals have been denied all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but Rodriguez's attorneys are now making a habeas corpus appeal, a lawsuit filed by a prisoner claiming he has been wrongfully held.

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