A jury in North Dakota's first death penalty case in nearly a century decided Friday a convicted sex offender should be executed for kidnapping and killing a college student after she left a shopping mall.
Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., 53, of Crookston, Minn., looked straight ahead and showed no emotion as the sentence was announced in the slaying of Dru Sjodin. He was convicted by the same Federal Jury of murder on Aug. 30.
North Dakota's last execution was in 1905, and the last person sentenced to death was spared in 1915. The state no longer has the death penalty, but it is allowed in federal cases. Rodriguez was charged under federal law because Sjodin was taken across state lines.
"I know it wasn't an easy decision for the jurors," said Sjodin's mother, Linda Walker, her voice shaking. "But Dru's voice was heard today."
Sjodin, 22, disappeared from a Grand Forks shopping mall parking lot 2003. Her body was found nearly five months later in a Minnesota ravine. Authorities said the University of North Dakota student had been beaten, raped and stabbed.
National Guardsman, students and other volunteers searched for her for months. The slaying also led to tougher sex offender laws in the two states.
What is your opinion of the Federal Death Penalty, and your state's Death Penalty or lack thereof?