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Dave Olson, Published May 22 2010

Attempted murder case moves forward

A judge ruled Friday there was probable cause to continue holding Nicholas Dodge Bruesch on a charge of attempted murder, a case that may have stemmed from an argument about beer, according to testimony Friday.

After the ruling by Cass County District Court Judge Steven McCullough, Bruesch pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder charge and to a drug possession charge.

Both charges were filed in the wake of a January stabbing in Mapleton, N.D.

Authorities responding to 911 calls on Jan. 13 went to a residence in Mapleton and found Donte Smith bleeding from what appeared to be a knife wound, according to a Cass County Sheriff’s Office investigator who testified at Friday’s court hearing.

Detective Steve Gabrielson said investigators later learned the knife wound included a nick to one of Smith’s internal organs.

Gabrielson said he followed a blood trail that led to a nearby house where Bruesch lived. Based on advice from the Cass County State’s Attorney’s Office, investigators entered the home to make sure there were no other victims, Gabrielson said.

No one was found at the time, but when authorities searched the home later with the permission of the owner, Bruesch’s father, they found a bloodied knife in the kitchen sink, Gabrielson said.

He said Smith was initially uncooperative but later said Nicholas Bruesch was the person who stabbed him.

Several witnesses backed up that story, including one who said Bruesch told him he stabbed Smith in a dispute over a couple of cans of beer, Gabrielson told the court.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555