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Published October 08, 2013, 08:51 AM

New charges filed in Mercer County murder conspiracy case

STANTON, N.D. (AP) — Prosecutors have filed new charges against a man whose murder conspiracy conviction was overturned by the North Dakota Supreme Court.

STANTON, N.D. (AP) — Prosecutors have filed new charges against a man whose murder conspiracy conviction was overturned by the North Dakota Supreme Court.

Cody Borner, 26, of Stanton, faces seven felony charges in Mercer County, including terrorizing, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment. He could face up to 35 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

A jury convicted Borner in June 2012 of conspiracy to commit murder in the shooting death of Mike Padilla in Beulah. Borner was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Authorities say a dispute over drugs and money led to the January 2012 shooting that killed Padilla, of Billings, Mont., and left his brother, Timothy, wounded. Richard Whitman, 31, of Hazen, was also convicted in the death.

Supreme Court justices reversed Borner's conviction in a split decision in August, ruling that language used in charging documents was improper. The ruling gave prosecutors authority to charge Borner with another crime.

Under North Dakota law, people can be found guilty of murder if they are found to have caused the death of another person under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life. The charges against Borner and Whitman accused them of agreeing with one another "to knowingly engage in or cause circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life." The Supreme Court ruled that someone cannot conspire to commit extreme indifference murder.

McLean County State's Attorney Ladd Erickson, who is prosecuting the case for Mercer County, told The Bismarck Tribune that the new charges were the best options available after the Supreme Court decision, which he said "rewrote the murder statute."

Michael Hoffman, Borner's attorney in the murder conspiracy case, did not immediately return a telephone call to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

South Central District Judge Gail Hagerty has set bond for Borner at $250,000 cash.

The high court has not ruled in Whitman's appeal, which was argued within a week of Borner's. Whitman was sentenced to life in prison.

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