BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A man accused of killing another man on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation and hiding the body in the trunk of a car while he recruited others to help dispose of it has reached a deal with prosecutors.
Marcel Chase is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Bismarck on Friday to plead guilty to a reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, according to court documents filed last week. He currently faces a second-degree murder charge that carries a potential life prison term.READ MORE: Target Will Again Require Some Workers To Wear Face Masks
Authorities allege that Chase killed Toby Young Bear during a drug-fueled fight in Mandaree in December 2014.
“During the argument, Chase struck Young Bear with his hands and fists, knocking Young Bear to the floor,” the plea agreement states. “Chase thereafter slammed Young Bear’s head and body on the floor several times, causing Young Bear to lose consciousness.”
Prosecutors say Young Bear died of his injuries and that Chase asked two people to help him bury the body, which was found frozen in the trunk of the car.READ MORE: 22-Year-Old Arrested In Fatal Assault Of Awwal Ladipo
Defense attorney Paul Myerchin has maintained that Chase has a history of mental illness and also was using methamphetamine and marijuana on the night of the alleged fight, raising questions about his mental capacity. However, Chase was deemed competent to stand trial following a lengthy psychiatric evaluation.
Myerchin also maintained that law officers violated Chase’s rights by searching his home and the vehicle without a warrant and by questioning him without an attorney present. U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland last month refused Myerchin’s request to suppress evidence, however.
Myerchin did not immediately respond Tuesday to a request for comment on whether Hovland’s ruling was a factor in the decision to agree to a plea deal.
Hovland must agree to the plea deal and its terms. Court documents indicate prosecutors are likely to recommend a prison sentence of between 11 years three months and 14 years. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 22.MORE NEWS: St. Paul Woman Charged With Murder After Ex-Husband's Body Found Buried In Backyard
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