Moorhead murder suspect previously classified as ‘incapacitated’

Published: Apr. 27, 2020 at 5:43 PM CDT
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Court documents filed in Cass County uncover more about a man suspected of the gruesome murder of 19-year-old Dystynee Avery.

27-year-old Ethan Broad is behind bars in Clay County charged with two counts of second degree murder after court documents say he admitted to killing Avery, cutting up her body and throwing it in the trash.

Documents filed in 2011 say after threats to drop out and live on the street, overall cognitive challenges and not being able to ‘see the consequences of his actions,' Catholic Charities of North Dakota became Broad's legal guardian as part of their intellectually disabled program.

As Broad's guardian, court documents state Catholic Charities helped him with living arrangements, finances, employment but said Broad should have as much freedom as possible. Documents state guardians should only intervene 'when necessary for the safety of Ethan or of other people.'

Court documents show annual reports filed by Catholic Charities starting in 2012. Each stated Broad would need their support and protection 'indefinitely,' as Broad’s 'ability to understand, make and communicate decisions is compromised.'

However, after nearly eight years in Catholic Charities’ care, Broad was terminated in Nov. 2019.

Court documents show Catholic Charities stated ‘it will not be detrimental for Ethan to be his own guardian.’ This, despite their yearly remarks stating the opposite.

Due to HIPPA, Catholic Charities was not able to discuss Broad’s history with the program, or whether or not they felt Dystynee Avery’s murder would have been avoided had Broad still been in their care.

Both Dystynee and a different suspect in her murder, Andrea Payne, claimed they were temporarily living with Broad at his Moorhead apartment at the time of the murder.

Catholic Charities Executive Director Dianne Nechiporenko says living and roommate situations varied between each ward. In a phone call, Nechiporenko told Valley News Live that even if temporary stays were not allowed for certain wards, guardians weren't present 24/7. Nechiporenko stated each ward is checked on at least once a month,

and said just because rules are given to those in the program, doesn’t mean they will be followed.

We tried contacting Broad’s attorney this afternoon for a comment on how his mental capacity could impact this case, however we have not heard back.