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WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 01, 2013, 09:23 PM

Local awareness is on the rise after Texas homicide

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- The highly publicized deaths of a Texas district attorney and his wife is raising questions in the Fargo-Moorhead area - could this happen here?

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- The highly publicized deaths of a Texas district attorney and his wife is raising questions in the Fargo-Moorhead area - could this happen here?

WDAY 6 Reporter Katie Lange spoke to local attorneys about threats they've received and what, if anything, can be done to protect the innocent.

The scene is still fresh on the minds of many. It's a deja-vous scare for officials in Texas - another prosecutor from the same county, murdered in the space of 2-months.

Steve Mottinger: "Is it a local person they made mad, somebody who think they're getting picked on. A person who has mental health issues, or is it actually somebody who has a vendetta against prosecution in that county."

Attorney Steven Mottinger says he's received threats over the years, but nothing that has made him fear for his life.

Mottinger: "It more than likely is going to happen involving a high profile case or a particular case where peoples tempers are short and their emotions are high."

That could have been the case in two cases in our own back yard.

One where a man brandished a gun in Hettinger courtroom and unsuccessfully tried to fire it - and another in the sleepy little town of Grand Marais, Minnesota where a man went to the county attorney's office and wounded two people.

Although it doesn't happen often, Attorney Ross Brandborg admits he was tipped off by police once for a possible threat.

Brandborg: "They had been listening to jail phones and just to kind of watch my back on one particular case. So you go on a heightened awareness at that point."

No matter what - Both men agree that as the oil boom spreads in our region, threats could become more prevalent - as society changes.

Mottinger: "We're in a small town and everybody knows everyone and law enforcement does too. They have an idea of who they need to watch - who is a real threat versus nothing more than a loud mouth."

Both attorneys agree safety has and will continue to cross their minds - in hopes we don't have a horrific event like Texas.

The men say the smaller courthouses are lacking metal detectors and multiple officers - something that can cause them to raise their level of awareness in rural areas.

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