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Judge Denies Re-Trial for Convicted Murderer - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Judge Denies Re-Trial for Convicted Murderer

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Reginald Tweed at the Cass County Courthouse July 15, 2013 Reginald Tweed at the Cass County Courthouse July 15, 2013

AUGUST 5 UPDATE

A Fargo judge has denied the re-trial of a convicted Fargo murderer. The judge handed down the decision on Monday that denies Reginald Tweed a re-trial on account of inadequate representation.

After 22 years behind bars, Tweed was back in Cass County Court on July 15. 2013. Several lawyers and experts tried to prove he had an inadequate defense at his previous trial.  They argued multiple pieces of evidence including DNA, medical experts, and crucial witness testimony never saw the light of day.

Although the re-trial was denied, Tweed tells Valley News Live he will appeal that decision. Tweed was convicted of the 1991 murder of Terry Dorff. Co-defendant David Sumner was acquitted in a separate trial in Bismarck.

JULY 15 UPDATE

A Fargo murder case from over 20 years ago has resurfaced. A Cass County Judge will take testimonies from expert witnesses, and attorney statements under advisory.

It started in 2008 after a Supreme Court ruling that stated Tweed had an inadequate defense. On Monday he got another day in court. As Valley News teams Eric Crest explains, Tweed argues his lawyer didn't bring all available evidence to the court room.

At the Cass County Courthouse Reginald Tweed and his attorney had one goal for the afternoon in mind. Proving to the judge he had an inadequate defense at his post-conviction hearing in 2008.

Chad McCabe his former attorney says on many different counts his attorney dropped the ball, "if you read the opinion the Supreme Court decided that two blows to the head could have caused the killing. And the last three blows wouldn't have made a difference but I think an expert witness could have made a difference had he testified."

Tweed's attorney at the time never looked for a medical expert to take the stand. Even though Tweed had asked him to. Also, two people went on record with a detective stating the other man, David Sumner, who was with Tweed the night of the murder told them in jail another account of what happened that night over 20 years ago.

Trial expert and a lawyer himself Tom Tuntland says some the evidence never presented could go along way, "this was jailhouse snitches... But it's been my experience that juries tend to believe jailhouse snitches."

The two witnesses stated on record that Sumner told them a completely different account of what happened the night of the murder.

"Sumner admitted murdering someone," says Reginald Tweed who found the documentation and tried to get it presented to the court.

Tweed's former attorney, Chad McCabe, thinks these examples of mishandling, coupled with DNA evidence never brought to light, and the neglected medical expert testimony all means that a judge should highly consider what to do next with Tweeds case.

"I think Mr. Tweed deserves a new trial," says former attorney McCabe.

Once again, the judge has the case under advisement and if he sides with Tweed, there could be re-trial.

 

 

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Original Story.......

A man serving life in prison for a Fargo murder is asking a judge to overturn his conviction, or grant him a new trial. Reginald Tweed was convicted of the 1991 murder of Terry Dorff, where he tied him up and bashed Dorff's head with a rock.

Monday, July 15, 2013, Tweed appeared in Cass County court for his post-conviction hearing. He claims his original attorney did not provide adequate representation.

Co-defendant David Sumner was acquitted after Tweed refused to testify against him in a separate trial in Bismarck  He and Sumner assaulted Dorff while the three were drinking.

Tweed says Sumner later made statements implicating himself in the killing. Tweed said he should get a new trial to let jurors evaluate the statements, but in 2010 the court said the statements weren't strong enough.

The court refused to order a new trial for Tweed twice before, but the most recent request was reversed by the North Dakota Supreme Court.

Valley news team's Eric Crest is at the hearing and will bring you the details tonight on Valley News Live.

 

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