FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A man was convicted Monday afternoon of killing two children on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation in North Dakota.
FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A man was convicted Monday afternoon of killing two children on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation in North Dakota.Valentino "Tino" Bagola, 20, was charged with and convicted of two counts of felony murder for the May 2011 slayings of 9-year-old Destiny Jane Shaw-Dubois and her 6-year-old brother, Travis Lee DuBois Jr., in St. Michael. Jurors did not find Bagola guilty of premeditated murder.Bagola faces a mandatory life sentence. District Judge Ralph Erickson set sentencing for December.Authorities have said Bagola stabbed the children to death after he sexually assaulted the girl. They also said Bagola did it because he was angry at their father but couldn't find him. Defense attorneys argued that the father of the victims, Travis DuBois Sr., was responsible.The jury deliberated for 10 hours last week before returning Monday morning."We're very pleased with the verdict," lead prosecutor Chris Myers told The Forum. "I think this was a very attentive and conscientious jury who looked at the evidence and saw it as we did."Bagola's lead defense lawyer, Christopher Lancaster, declined comment to The Forum after the verdict.The investigation originally centered on DuBois Sr., who was interrogated by authorities but never charged.
Defense attorneys spent much of the 13-day trial focusing on DuBois' confession, which he later recanted.Bagola was arrested more than a year later and also confessed to investigators.During closing arguments, Lancaster said FBI agents manipulated an uneducated Bagola into confessing after they brought him into a small conference room late at night.Lancaster had said that DuBois had "life experiences," such as working for the fire department and serving his country in Iraq, and was not vulnerable like Bagola.