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Published July 07, 2011, 01:15 PM

Jamestown man pleads not guilty to murder of Somali refugee

A Jamestown man accused of killing a Somali refugee pleaded not guilty at a preliminary hearing Thursday in Southeast District Court in Jamestown. Leron “Ra Ra” Howard is accused of murder and criminal conspiracy in the April 30 death of 18-year-old Abdi Ali Ahmed.

By: Katie Ryan-Anderson, Jamestown Sun

A Jamestown man accused of killing a Somali refugee pleaded not guilty at a preliminary hearing Thursday in Southeast District Court in Jamestown.

Leron “Ra Ra” Howard is accused of murder and criminal conspiracy in the April 30 death of 18-year-old Abdi Ali Ahmed. Murder and criminal conspiracy are both Class AA felonies.

Ahmed was found in a ditch near Spiritwood, N.D., the afternoon of April 30. Officials said he died of a blunt force head injury. He also had stab wounds in his abdomen and rib cage as well as defensive wounds on his wrists.

Ahmed had moved to the United States in 2006 to escape violence and civil war in Somalia, family said. He’d lived in Jamestown for a few months before his death, staying with various Somali families and enrolling in Jamestown Public Schools.

Jamestown resident Janelle Cave is also accused of murder and criminal conspiracy in relation to Abdi’s death. Her preliminary hearing is set for July 11.

Following Howard’s not-guilty plea, a judge will be assigned to the case and a jury trial set.

Both Howard and Cave are in custody and held on $450,000 bond.

A Class AA felony is punishable by a maximum of life imprisonment without parole.

Sun reporter Katie Ryan-Anderson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at kryan-anderson@jamestownsun.com.

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