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Stephen J. Lee, Forum Communications, Published July 30 2012

Spirit Lake murder suspect waives detention hearing

GRAND FORKS – The man charged with murdering two children last year in their home on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation near Devils Lake waived his right to a detention hearing that was scheduled for Monday in Grand Forks.

It means Valentino “Tino” James Bagola, 19, will remain in custody, without bond, until his trial on federal murder charges scheduled for Sept. 25.

He remains in the Grand Forks County jail awaiting trial on the federal charges, which each carry a maximum penalty of life in prison.

In his initial appearance July 23, Bagola pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Destiny Jane Shaw, 9, and her brother, Travis Lee DuBois Jr., 6. The two were found by their mother under a mattress in their home in St. Michael on May 21, 2011. The two children apparently had been slain with a knife or other sharp weapon.

Bagola, also of St. Michael, is charged with two counts of murder that allege he stabbed to death each of the children between May 18 and May 21 last year, plus a charge of killing Shaw in the course of also committing aggravated sexual abuse and child abuse, and a charge of killing DuBois in the course of committing child abuse.

A warrant for Bagola’s arrest was issued July 19, and he was arrested July 21 at the Grand Forks jail, where he was being held on a state theft charge.

He is being represented by a federal public defender, Christopher Lancaster.

Scott Schneider, an assistant U.S. attorney in Fargo, is heading the prosecution team.

The victims and Bagola are identified in the charges as Indians and the alleged crimes to have happened “in Indian country,” which gives federal authorities jurisdiction to prosecute the case.


Stephen J. Lee writes for the Grand Forks Herald