'He opened the door to a monster': Bible leader among victims in Fargo murders


A man is charged with killing two men in Fargo earlier this week – one of which authorities say he knew, the other a Bible study leader killed while getting the suspect a glass of water.

Ashley Kenneth Hunter, 35, is charged with two counts of murder and one count of arson following the two homicides in Fargo, the Cass County Attorney's Office confirmed.

The victims have been identified as 45-year-old Clarence Lewon Flowers, of Fargo, and 24-year-old Samuel Traut, originally from Sartell, Minnesota.

Flowers and Hunter were known to each other, but there appears to be no connection between Hunter and Traut, authorities say. According to KFGO, Hunter was "high on meth and paranoid" when he ended up at Traut's door late Monday night.

Reporters were told at a press conference Wednesday morning that Lt. Joel Vettel said "a good, young man unknowingly opened his door to a monster and at that point Samuel Traut was murdered."

Hunter turned himself into police Tuesday morning, at a house near where Traut's body was found.

He made his first appearance in court Wednesday, the Fargo Forum reports, where he protested his innocence and said he didn't understand the charges. He was denied bail.

First victim 'stabbed 50 times'

According to a charging summary, Flowers, whose body was found first at 2:40 p.m. Monday at 319 12th Ave. N., was stabbed 50 times with a knife.

The two knew each other, with Hunter telling police during an interview he was upset with Flowers for "stealing all his girlfriends, overcharging him for drugs, and always showing him disrespect," according to the document.

The discovery of Flowers' body prompted a major search for Hunter in Fargo on Monday, after he was seen in a reportedly stolen pickup truck, eluding officers.

It led to a standoff after the truck was found near an apartment building, but SWAT teams did not find Hunter inside.

A knife has not yet been recovered, with Hunter telling police it may have been in the black pickup, or he had given it to someone to dispose of.

'Good man' killed while fetching glass of water

There is not thought to be any connection between Hunter and Traut, a bible study group leader whose body was found in a burning apartment at 1122 12th St. N at 12:49 a.m. Tuesday.

Traut died from blunt force trauma caused by a hammer. Hunter is then said to have tried to set several fires throughout his home after his death, reports note.

According to the charging summary, Hunter jumped a fence into the garden at 1122 12th St. N., near to the house he was hiding out in along North University Drive.

Traut then came to the door and Hunter asked for a glass of water. He told police that he had been "using a lot of drugs" that had made him paranoid, and he had seen police were looking for him on the news.

Because he felt that Traut had taken a long time – about five minutes – to get the glass of water, he was scared that he was going to call the police, so he attacked him with the hammer "three or four times."

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