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Forum staff reports, Published January 12 2011

Lack of ties prompts bail denial in slaying

COOPERSTOWN – The order denying bail to the man accused of killing a North Dakota State University researcher was filed Tuesday in Griggs County District Court.

Daniel Evan Wacht, 30, is charged with murder in the death of fellow Cooperstown resident Kurt Douglas Johnson.

The order filed Tuesday springs from the bail hearing held Monday, Wacht’s first appearance in court since he was charged on Friday.

Signed by Judge James Hovey and dated Tuesday, the bail order states Hovey found there were no bail conditions that could “reasonably assure the presence of the defendant at future proceedings, nor assure the safety and security of the public.”

Wacht conceded “he had no ties to this community and no persons who would help to assure his presence in Court,” Hovey wrote in the document.

According to the order, Wacht was willing to proceed with the bail hearing without an attorney but has asked for an application for a public defender.

Griggs County Sheriff Robert Hook alleges in court records that Johnson’s head was found in Wacht’s basement and a witness saw Wacht throw Johnson into the back of a van at about 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.

Wacht’s next court date is scheduled for Jan. 25.