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Published April 23, 2013, 09:45 AM

North Dakota Supreme Court hears appeal in murder case

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Supreme Court is considering the appeal of a man serving life in prison for shooting and beheading a North Dakota State University researcher.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Supreme Court is considering the appeal of a man serving life in prison for shooting and beheading a North Dakota State University researcher.

The Forum newspaper reports that attorneys made oral arguments in the appeal on Monday. Justices will rule later.

Prosecutors said 32-year-old Daniel Wacht shot Kurt Johnson after a night of drinking on New Year's Eve 2010, then cut off his head. Authorities found Johnson's head in Wacht's basement but the researcher's body has not been found. A jury convicted Wacht of murder a year ago.

Defense attorney Steven Mottinger told Supreme Court justices that authorities conducted illegal searches of Wacht's van and home. Prosecutor Marina Spahr said there was a "multitude of facts" supporting the trial judge's decisions and the guilty verdict.

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