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Published July 03, 2013, 08:55 AM

Three convicted in 2012 Grand Forks home invasion case

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — Three men could face life in prison after being convicted of breaking into a Grand Forks couple's home, beating them, stealing from them and killing their dog.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — Three men could face life in prison after being convicted of breaking into a Grand Forks couple's home, beating them, stealing from them and killing their dog.

Cody Boulduc, 25, and brothers Allen Ratliff, 29, and Nathan Ratliff, 28, were convicted Tuesday on all of the felony counts they faced in the April 30, 2012, incident, according to the Grand Forks Herald and WDAZ-TV.

Authorities said the men broke into the home of Sherman and Carmen Jones, demanded prescription drugs and money, and stole various items including jewelry and medicine. Prosecutors said the men bound the couple with duct tape and beat them with small clubs, and killed the Jones' Chihuahua because it wouldn't stop barking.

Attorneys said Carmen Jones was a target for thieves because others knew she had a large number of prescribed painkillers. Jones testified during the trial that she had been a victim of thieves before, prompting her to install security cameras outside the home in 2011. Those cameras videotaped three masked men kicking in the door of their mobile home about 5:30 a.m. the day of the incident.

The men's attorneys argued in court that no fingerprints or DNA evidence linked their clients to the break-in, and that the couple could not identify the defendants as the intruders. They also accused police of pressuring witnesses.

Assistant State's Attorney Carmell Mattison told jurors that the three men's defense was nothing more than, "Some other dudes did it."

Circumstantial and direct evidence, including pawn shop receipts and the discovery of stolen items in the men's possession soon after the burglary, proved their guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt," Mattison said.

After nearly five days of testimony, the jury deliberated for about four hours Tuesday before convicting the suspects on charges of burglary, assault, robbery, theft and felonious restraint.

Defense attorneys declined to comment after the verdict. Mattison praised the jury's work, saying it was "a very complex case."

A sentencing date was not immediately set.

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