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Man Pleads Guilty In Homicide; 3 Others Charged

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FARGO, N.D. (AP) – One man pleaded guilty Friday and three other people were charged in connection with the stabbing death of a man in a Fargo parking lot last month.

Wade Garrett, 19, pleaded guilty in East Central District Court to felony murder in the March 14 death of 26-year-old Rolandas House, whose body was discovered near a grocery store on the city’s south side. Police say Garrett stabbed House multiple times.

The plea agreement calls for prosecutors to recommend a sentence of 25 years in prison, with one year suspended. Cass County State’s Attorney Birch Burdick said Garrett should receive credit for accepting responsibility and cooperating with authorities.

“We think that cooperation is a good idea,” Burdick said. “It helps law enforcement and helps the community.”

Garrett’s attorney, Steven Mottinger, told The Associated Press Friday that the plea agreement is fair.

“You always hope you can do better in terms of a sentencing recommendation, but in light of the fact that this was a homicide charge, we were pleased with the outcome,” he said.

Prosecutors announced Friday that 46-year-old Arlen Clapper and his children, 19-year-old Alexander Clapper and 22-year-old Tamara Clapper, have been charged with felony murder in the case. They face life in prison without parole. Alexander Clapper also is charged with delivery of marijuana.

“The information we have regarding the investigation is that these three individuals are associates of Mr. Garrett, and we believe that they were present the early morning of the 14th when the homicide occurred,” Fargo Police Chief Keith Ternes said.

The Clappers, who live in Moorhead, Minn., were arrested Thursday night in Valley City. They will likely be arraigned on Monday. Court documents do not list attorneys for them.

Burdick said investigators do not believe the Clappers were involved in the actual stabbing.

Court documents allege that House had stolen money and marijuana from Garrett. Asked about the charge against Alexander Clapper that he delivered marijuana, Ternes said investigators determined immediately that there was “a drug nexus” to the case, but would not give further details.

Ternes said the investigation is ongoing and detectives may speak with other people, but he doesn’t believe the public “is in any type of jeopardy as a result of this case.”

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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