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Published December 18 2011

North Dakota Supreme Court reopens attempted murder case

BISMARCK — North Dakota's Supreme Court has reopened an attempted murder case in which a woman was choked and stabbed.

Ernest Coppage argues his lawyers did a poor job representing him during his trial, and during his previous attempt to revisit his case.

The Supreme Court affirmed Coppage's conviction earlier. But the justices say Coppage should have a hearing to provide evidence about his latest claims.

Coppage was convicted of assaulting his former girlfriend in October 2006. Court documents say he beat and choked the woman with a toilet plunger and stabbed her in the left thigh. She suffered a broken right eye socket and bleeding in the brain.

During his trial, Coppage argued he was defending himself and wasn't trying to kill the woman.

Coppage is serving a 10-year prison sentence.