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Published October 25, 2011, 07:09 PM

New details come to light in latest Rodriguez appeal

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Bombshell facts never before known in the 2003 death of Dru Sjodin are spilling from a 300 page appeal filed in Federal Court. The document paints a picture of a killer who claims a childhood of abuse and a life of mental health issues not made public until now.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Bombshell facts never before known in the 2003 death of Dru Sjodin are spilling from a 300 page appeal filed in Federal Court. The document paints a picture of a killer who claims a childhood of abuse and a life of mental health issues not made public until now.

In court papers Alfonso Rodriguez and his defense team lay out a road map of insanity and mental retardation as grounds for a last resort appeal. The mother of Dru Sjodin told us today, it is frustrating to see the money spent on this appeal process, and that it seems Rodriguez is grasping at straws.

Rodriguez, now 58, claims he confused Dru Sjodin with a college girl he says sexually abused HIM at a church camp back in 1959. Court documents say Rodriguez stalked her that day at the mall, feeling compelled to follow her, re-experiencing, his attorneys and doctors say the abuse of his childhood.. PTSD, his psychiatrist argues. A flood of emotions and physiological reactions.

We learn tonight that when Rodriguez followed Dru Sjodin to the car, she was actually sitting in the driver's seat of the car on the phone, her head turned; information that never came out in court. The psychiatrist for Rodriguez says the convicted murderer never intended to kill Sjodin. As they drove around Grand Forks, Sjodin began to struggle in the car, banging on the windows. He hit her, knocked her unconscious. That is when he placed a plastic bag over her head.

He panicked, attorneys say, and left her body in a ravine. Key is this disagreement. Defense says she died in the car in Grand Forks. Prosecutors say Rodriguez killed her near the ravine, and so it is this claim that Rodriguez was not of sound mind experiencing temporary insanity at the time of the attack, and that his attorneys in court never presented evidence of his mental issues at trial . In the appeals filing, attorneys claim no reasonable jury would have sent him to death row had they known.

There is still obvious pain felt by the family of Dru. Linda Walker says the latest claims by Rodriguez and his legal team, simply open up old wounds. And she says, at the end of the day, Dru is not coming back.

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