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Evaluation finds Stevens "Fit For Court," Guilty Plea Accepted - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Evaluation finds Stevens "Fit For Court," Guilty Plea Accepted in Double Murder

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FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014

A Fargo man, who admitted to murdering two people at a Fargo apartment in November, has pleaded guilty in Cass County Court. David George Stevens pleaded guilty Friday morning to two counts of AA felony murder.

At an earlier court appearance, Stevens tried to plead guilty, but the judge ordered a psychological evaluation after Stevens gave a lengthy and detailed confession in court.

A psychologist has found Stevens fit to proceed in court. The evaluation found that although he has mental issues, they are not severe enough to interfere with him understanding the court proceedings or to interfere with others communicating with Stevens regarding the case.

A pre-sentencing investigation was ordered and the next step will be to sentence Stevens. The maximum sentence he faces is life in prison without parole.

Stevens is accused of murdering Sam Wickenheiser and Ward Berg in November 2013 at Wickenheiser's Fargo apartment.

MONDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2013 UPDATE

A Cass County judge has ordered the suspect of a double murder in Fargo to undergo a psychological evaluation after a bizarre confession in court. At his preliminary hearing on Monday, David Stevens took the stand and confessed, and that's when the judge developed concerns over Steven's competency.

Stevens admitted to killing Ward Berg and Samantha Wickenheiser, who were both stabbed to death at Wickenheiser's apartment on November 23. Stevens did not apologize for the attack, but did say he did not go the apartment with intention of killing.

"It was an after the fact thing. I mean, even what I remember now, what I'm telling you is me sitting there everyday staring at those pictures and trying to rethink what the hell happened?" Stevens explains in court on Monday.  "What did you do? I make myself look at those pictures every morning. Not one day has gone by where I haven't dreamt about it. I'm haunted by what I've done. I killed the girl I love."

Despite Steven's confession in court, the case remains open. The evaluation could push the case back a few months. Once the court gets the results of the evaluation, it will then decide how to best move forward. 

NOVEMBER 25, 2013 UPDATE

Police have now released that second victim's name in the double homicide that happened Saturday morning in north Fargo. 30-year-old Ward Berg of Moorhead was the other person who died in the suspected double homicide. The other victim is 23-year-old Samantha Wickenheiser of Fargo. Fargo Police have arrested David Stevens in connection with the crime. Valley News Team's Eric Crest was at Cass County Courthouse today for Steven's first appearance in court.

The charging summary released today prepared by the Fargo Police Department answers some questions as to what happened early Saturday morning in north Fargo. Police say they received a call that someone had been stabbed. Both David George Stevens and his wife April Stevens were on scene apparently trying to pick up some clothes left at Stevens' Fargo home. Wickenheiser and a friend, Ward Allen Berg of Moorhead, were at the residence at the night of the murder.

April Stevens told police that she saw Wickenheiser running towards the parking lot outside of the apartment just minutes after her husband had entered. Wickenheiser was said to be covered in blood at that point. April told authorities she drove away to the front of the apartment building at that time. Shortly after that police got another call from David Stevens who told police that he had just stabbed his girlfriend. Wickenheiser and Ward Allen Berg would both pass away shortly thereafter.

When authorities showed up Stevens wasn't willing to speak without an attorney present. He had multiple misdemeanor warrants out for his arrest.

"We know he's had some issues with the law in reference to a variety of charges, and so we have a number of active warrants and misdemeanor warrants in our community," says Lt. Joel Vettel of the Fargo Police Department.

The charging documents go on in graphic detail about how the bodies were found. We however, out of respect for the family, are not releasing those details. Stevens has a laundry list of criminal activity through the years predominately out of state. Including theft with a firearm, assaults, felony drug possession, and terrorizing domestic violence. He's currently being held on a one million dollar bail at the Cass County Jail awaiting his next hearing on December 27th. Just to put this into context this is just the second murder case in Fargo this year, both were cases of what appears to be domestic violence.

If you'd like to help the family, a fund is being set up Wednesday at Gate City Bank under the "Samantha Wickenheiser Memorial Fund". Donations will go to her children which consist of a one year old, and a 4-month-old. The suspect, David George Stevens, was the father of both.

MONDAY UPDATE

Cass County State's Attorney Birch Burdick has announced that David George Stevens was charged Monday with the murders of Samantha Wickenheiser and Ward Berg.

Each charge is a class AA felony, punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole.

Stevens' first court appearance is scheduled for 2:00 Monday afternoon.

Documents state that Stevens called 911 to report he had just stabbed his girlfriend.  

The two victims in this case have been identified as Ward Allen Berg, a 30-year-old from Moorhead and Samantha Dawn Wickenheiser, a 23-year-old from Fargo.

Police arrested 35-year-old David George Stevens on murder charges, a spokesman says all three knew each other. Stevens and Wickenheiser have two young children together.

Both bodies were found outside a home on the 1100 block of 7th Avenue north.

Fargo police responded to the home about 2:00 Saturday after multiple reports of a stabbing. When police arrived they found a man and woman dead with stab wounds.

There was evidence of blood from the apartment building all the way across the street.

Updated 8:29 p.m.

A neighborhood wakes up to a crime scene in North Fargo, and the last place two people were found alive.

The Fargo Police Department found a man and a woman dead this morning with signs of being stabbed. Fargo police officers have arrested one man for this horrific crime, and they are not looking at any other suspects.

35-year-old David George Stevens of Fargo is in jail on two counts of murder.

Valley News Live was the first local television station to bring you this tragic story from 7th Avenue North.

This morning the road was blocked off, and it was covered in police tape. The bodies of a man and woman were found outside. There was evidence of blood from the apartment building all the way across the street.

On Saturday morning at about 2 am police were called to 1105 7th Ave North. From multiple people saying someone might have been stabbed.

When police arrived they found a man and woman dead with stabbing wounds.

Keith Ternes- Fargo Police Chief: "The victims have been identified as 30 year old man from Moorhead, and a 23 year old female from Fargo." But officers haven't yet released their names. Ternes: "We're certainly working hard to identify their next of kin."

Inside the building police found a man identified as 35 year old David George Stevens. Ternes: "We do have enough information, and we have collected at least enough evidence which again gives us enough probable cause to make the arrest of Stevens." Police say Stevens knew the man and woman they believe he murdered.

Ternes: "This is not a case of where a stranger forced their way into the home, these are people who knew one another." But investigators are still hard at work trying to uncover what exactly happened. Ternes: "We're still trying to piece together exactly where the two individuals injuries actually occurred."

Stevens in now in Cass County Jail being held on charges of this double murder. But this is not his first run-in with the law. Ternes: "He did in fact have two outstanding arrest warrants for him one from Cass County and one from Fargo."

Updated 12:57pm

7th avenue has now been reopened however the building remains wrapped in crime scene tape.

Updated 9:08am - Police announced this morning they arrested 35 year-old David George Stevens for the overnight double murder. A police spokesman says authorities are fairly sure all three knew each other. Both bodies were found outside.

Keep checking back with Valley News Live on this developing story.

Original story:

Fargo Police officers arrested a 35-year-old Fargo Man early this morning on two counts of murder. That's after they responded to a possible stabbing on the 1100 block of 7th Ave N just after 2:00 a.m. Saturday morning. Upon arrival, officers found a 23-year-old Fargo woman and a 30-year-old Moorhead man dead.

The Police Department will be holding a press conference at 9 a.m. Saturday. Stick with Valley News Live for the latest information on this story.

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