Testimony underway in accomplice to murder trial in Minot

Donald Cooper, Jr. (left), Dominick Stephens (right)
Donald Cooper, Jr. (left), Dominick Stephens (right)(KMOT)
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 5:20 PM CST
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MINOT, N.D. (KMOT) – Opening statements and testimony began Wednesday in the trial of a man charged in a fatal 2020 shooting in Minot.

Your News Leader breaks down the key arguments from the state and defense.

After two days of jury selection, state prosecutors began laying out their case against 30-year-old Donald Cooper, Jr., who faces four charges including accomplice to murder in the death of 29-year-old Dominick Stephens, in a case that has taken more than three years to go to trial.

In opening Wednesday, Assistant Prosecutor Tina Snellings discussed a spent shell casing found in the suspect vehicle near where Cooper was sitting, that matched bullets found on scene, and also described Stephens’ final moments.

”One of those bullet fragments pierced his lung, continued to travel into his aortic sack, causing Dominick Stephens to drown in his own blood… And at the end of this trial, we expect that all the evidence is going to show that Donald Lee Cooper is guilty of all four charges against him,” said Snellings.

Cooper’s attorney Jeff Bredahl countered that the state did not do its due diligence on the forensics of the vehicles and relied on witnesses who told contradictory stories.

”Is there any doubt that [Stephens] died? There’s no doubt. The question is, did Patrick Bost, when he was shooting, did he have a ricochet in that vehicle that hit Dominick Stephens? … At the conclusion of this case, you’ll find Mr. Cooper not guilty of each of these charges,” said Bredahl.

Testimony is expected to continue Thursday morning in Minot.

The state could call as many as 60 different witnesses in this case, and the courts have scheduled the trial to run through next week.

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