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Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun, Published February 15 2012

Testimony ends in murder trial; Cave says she was afraid to contact authorities

Testimony wrapped up Wednesday morning in the murder trial of Janelle Cave, 22, Jamestown.

Cave and Leron Lee Howard, 34, Jamestown, are charged with murder and criminal conspiracy in the death of Abdi Ali Ahmed, 18, Jamestown, on April 30, 2011. Ahmed’s body was found in a road ditch near Spiritwood, N.D., on the morning of April 30, 2011.

Both charges are Class AA felonies punishable by up to life in prison without parole. Howard is scheduled for trial beginning Aug. 7.

The cause is being heard in Southeast District Court with Judge Thomas E. Merrick presiding.

Cave testified on her own behalf Tuesday. The early part of Wednesday’s testimony included cross-examination by Fritz Fremgen, Stutsman County state’s attorney.

Fremgen asked about why Cave did not contact authorities after Ahmed was beaten and stabbed. Cave replied that she was afraid of Howard.

Fremgen also asked on several occasions during his cross-examination if Cave was friendly with Ahmed. Cave replied that she liked him.

After the conclusion of testimony the jury was given its instructions for deliberation.

Jurors were informed that if they do not find Cave guilty of murder they can consider the lesser charges of manslaughter or negligent homicide. They also are to consider the charge of criminal conspiracy.

Closing arguments are scheduled for the afternoon with the jury possibly getting the case for deliberation later Wednesday or Thursday.

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at knorman@jamestownsun.com