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Associated Press, Published June 28 2012

Jurors convict 2 suspects in deadly Beulah shooting

BISMARCK — Jurors in Bismarck found two men guilty of conspiracy to commit murder Thursday in a Beulah shooting that left one man dead and another injured.

Richard Whitman, 29, and Cody Borner, 25, had pleaded not guilty in the Jan. 31 death of Mike Padilla in his apartment and the wounding of his brother, Timothy Padilla of Billings, Mont.

Jurors spent about four hours deliberating before delivering their verdict Thursday morning, the Bismarck Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/MBkvfm ).

Prosecutors say a dispute over money and drugs led to the shooting. Both suspects testified they brought guns to the apartment to deter violence, and that shots were fired in a struggle for the guns when the Padilla brothers came after them.

The conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole.

Members of Padilla's family cried and embraced after the verdict was read by Judge Bruce Romanick.

About an hour into deliberations Thursday, the jury asked Romanick if the verdicts could be different for each defendant. They had the option to consider conspiracy to commit reckless endangerment charges which carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Romanick instructed the jury that different verdicts could be rendered, and the jury came back about an hour and half later with its decision.

The trial was moved to Burleigh County at the request of prosecutor Ladd Erickson because of worries that publicity surrounding the case would make it difficult to seat a jury.

Romanick ordered the men held without bond. He ordered a pre-sentence investigation and chemical and psychological evaluations for both men, which could take up to six weeks.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.