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Published March 12 2012

Deniger fights extradition to Fargo in St. Cloud court appearance

ST. CLOUD, Minn. – A Fargo man charged with murdering his wife made his first court appearance Monday and refused to waive ext-radition back to Cass County from St. Cloud, where he was arre-sted last Wednesday.

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple now must issue a warrant within 90 days to have Deniger brought back to Fargo, said prosecutor Mike Lieberg, criminal division chief at the Stearns County (Minn.) Attorney’s Office.

Lieberg said the office typically receives a governor’s warrant within 40 to 60 days of the request.

“As soon as we receive it, we’ll yank him over to court and be done,” he said.

In the meantime, Deniger remains in the Stearns County Jail. Bail has been set at $1 million.

Deniger, 49, is accused of killing his 52-year-old wife, Kathye Deniger, who was found stabbed to death a week ago in their Fargo apartment at 2601 14th St. S., police said. He faces a Class AA felony murder charge, as well as Class C felony tampering with physical evidence for allegedly washing a knife discovered at the crime scene.

Monday’s hearing was rescheduled from last Friday, when Deniger refused to leave his jail cell to attend court. He was talked into appearing Monday morning and was able to consult with his attorney, Lieberg said.

It’s not the first time Deniger has been uncooperative in jail, according to court records in Washington state, where he met his wife in a mental hospital, her daughter said.

After his arrest in January 2008 in Tacoma for allegedly stealing a grapefruit from a Safeway store and kicking a responding police officer in the shoulder, Deniger had to be forced to take food, water and medication, according to Pierce County court documents. A judge’s order allowed jail and Western State Hospital staff to administer psychotropic drugs and other medication for Deniger’s diabetes “and other health problems” in order to “restore and maintain the defendant’s competency.”

The theft and assault charges were eventually dropped on the grounds that Deniger was initially cooperative with police and the state may not be able to prove the assault against the officer was intentional.

Seattle Municipal Court records show Deniger was convicted of assault in 2000 and harassment in 2001, receiving suspended sentences both times. A harassment charge filed in July 2008 was dismissed by reason of incompetency.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528