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Published April 17, 2012, 03:51 PM

Prosecutors say defendant wanted to make statement

COOPERSTOWN, N.D. (AP) - Prosecutors say a man on trial for killing a North Dakota State University researcher in Cooperstown was starting a local white supremacist gang and wanted to make a statement.

COOPERSTOWN, N.D. (AP) - Prosecutors say a man on trial for killing a North Dakota State University researcher in Cooperstown was starting a local white supremacist gang and wanted to make a statement.

Daniel Wacht is accused of shooting and decapitating Kurt Johnson, who was last seen alive on New Year's Eve 2010. The 31-year-old Wacht has pleaded not guilty.

Griggs County prosecutor Marina Spahr said in her opening statement Tuesday that Wacht told a witness he planned to blow something up or kill somebody to show he was serious about an "Aryan Nation-type" gang. Both Wacht and Johnson are white.

Defense attorney Steven Mottinger told jurors Tuesday there's no evidence to show that Wacht pulled the trigger.

Johnson's severed head was found in Wacht's basement in Cooperstown. Johnson's body has not been recovered.

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