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Associated Press, Published June 21 2012

Federal prosecutors ask for psychiatric exam of Alfonso Rodriguez Jr.

FARGO – Federal prosecutors say they want their own experts to interview a man sentenced to death for kidnapping and killing a University of North Dakota student in 2003.

Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., of Crookston, Minn., was convicted of raping, beating and stabbing Dru Sjodin of Pequot Lakes, Minn. Rodriguez sits on death row in an Indiana prison.

U.S. attorneys are working to answer a 300-page habeas corpus appeal filed in October asking for a new trial or sentencing hearing. Prosecutors filed a motion Thursday asking for an independent psychiatric exam of Rodriguez.

The document says the request is reasonable because Rodriguez “now claims his trial counsel should have raised the defense of insanity, a challenge to his conviction, and that he is mentally retarded.”

Defense attorneys have not filed their response.