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Published October 28, 2013, 12:41 PM

Man convicted in Spirit Lake killings blames his defense

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A man convicted of killing two children on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation in North Dakota claims in court documents that he was not mentally fit to stand trial and says he wants to be released from prison.

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A man convicted of killing two children on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation in North Dakota claims in court documents that he was not mentally fit to stand trial and says he wants to be released from prison.

A jury in September found Valentino "Tino" Bagola, 22, guilty of two counts of felony murder for the May 2011 slayings of 9-year-old Destiny Jane Shaw-Dubois and her 6-year-old brother, Travis Lee DuBois Jr., in St. Michael.

Prosecutors said Bagola stabbed the children to death after he sexually assaulted the girl. Defense attorneys argued that the father of the victims, Travis DuBois Sr., was responsible.

Bagola said in handwritten documents filed earlier this month in federal court that he should have had an evaluation to determine whether he was competent to stand trial and assist in his own defense.

Bagola wrote that he was "grossly abused" in his childhood, was addicted to drugs, and was examined by two Grand Forks doctors who said he was mentally ill.

Neil Fulton with the public federal defender's office in the Dakotas says defense attorneys have not reviewed Bagola's documents, but "sincerely hope he obtains any relief on any claims where he says this office should have done things differently or better."

The public defenders are continuing to prepare for Bagola's sentencing and looking at options for appeal, Fulton said. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 16. Bagola faces life in prison.

U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon declined to comment.

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