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Prosecutors charge Horace man in weekend fight with manslaughter not murder

31-year-old Marlin Klatt was pronounced dead Monday
Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 6:24 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - A fight outside of a Horace bar landed a 25-year-old man in jail on several charges.

Cass County prosecutors charged Jordan Pendelton with manslaughter on Tuesday after the victim died from his injuries, avoiding a murder charge.

“What do we think the evidence supports? What can we prove beyond a reasonable doubt? And so we came up with the charge of manslaughter,” Cass County State’s Attorney Birch Burdick said.

According to investigators, Pendelton got into an argument around 1 a.m. Sunday with 31-year-old Marlin Klatt of Horace.

It was apparently over something that happened a few years ago, according to court documents.

Cass County Sheriff’s investigators determined Pendleton punched Klatt in the face knocking him unconscious, which caused him to fall and hit his head on the pavement.

“Our thoughts and prayer go out to the family of Mr. Klatt as they work and grieve during this very difficult time,” Sheriff Jesse Jahner said in a media conference.

Pendelton saw a judge Tuesday and his bond was set at $500,000.

On the one hand, manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison in North Dakota. On the other hand, second degree murder offers a maximum of 40 years while first degree murder is life in prison.

“Manslaughter fits in the homicide chapter essentially...for that you need to have reckless behavior and it’s a choice on our part,” Burdick said.

Sheriff Jahner said surveillance video did capture the fight.

Two other men were also hurt trying to separate Pendleton from Klatt, according to court documents. He faces simple assault charges for that as well, and an aggravated assault charge.

“There was another individual at the bar that night I believe that saw some of it, besides the two that intervened,” Jahner said.

Sheriff Jahner said the last time deputies were at Big Erv’s was three weeks ago. A majority of the calls to the bar aren’t serious.

Several people commenting on our Facebook page said Klatt was a great guy who worked hard.

Pendleton is scheduled to see a judge on July 30.

We reached out to Big Erv’s, but they told us they don’t want to comment on the incident.

Klatt’s body was sent for an autopsy at the University of North Dakota’s forensic lab.

Copyright 2020 KVLY. All rights reserved.

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