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Published December 17, 2011, 09:10 AM

Status Hearing Scheduled in Death Penalty Appeal

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A hearing is scheduled in Fargo to update the appeal of a man sentenced to death for killing a University of North Dakota student.

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A hearing is scheduled in Fargo to update the appeal of a man sentenced to death for killing a University of North Dakota student.

Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. of Crookston, Minn., was convicted in 2006 of abducting, raping, killing Dru Sjodin, of Pequot Lakes, Minn. Rodriguez is on death row at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.

It was the state's first federal death penalty case and resulted in tougher laws for sex offenders.

Defense attorneys in October filed a federal habeas corpus motion, considered the last step in the appeals process. The 298-page document claims, among other things, that Rodriguez was mentally disabled and his trial team was ineffective.

A status hearing is scheduled Jan. 9 in front of U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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