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Forum staff reports, Published February 07 2013

Judge to decide whether case of child murder moves forward

LISBON, N.D. – A judge will decide whether the case against a Fort Ransom woman charged with murder in the death of her 22-month-old son should move forward after evidence was presented at a hearing Thursday.

Jodi Lindvall, 29, faces a charge of Class AA felony murder and two counts of Class A felony child abuse in the death of her son, Bentley, who died Sept. 22 at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo from injuries sustained four days earlier.

During a preliminary hearing in Ransom County District Court, Judge Jay Schmitz heard evidence to determine whether there is probable cause for the case to proceed to trial.

Schmitz will issue his ruling at a later date.

Among the exhibits offered were the Sanford doctor’s report and the state medical examiner’s autopsy report, which listed the cause of death as “blunt head injury in battered child syndrome.”

The doctor’s report stated that in addition to the head injury, the boy had multiple healing fractures, multiple bruises in unusual locations and retinal hemorrhages.

A polygraph test also was offered by the defense, but it wasn’t received and Schmitz ordered it sealed, records show.

According to the investigative report, Lindvall told authorities the boy hit his head as she was struggling with him to change his diaper. However, Lindvall and her parents also suggested that her then-boyfriend, John Holub, could be responsible for the boy’s injuries. Through his attorney, Holub has denied any involvement in the injuries.

Lindvall remains free after posting $10,000 cash bond. If convicted, she faces up to life in prison without parole for the murder charge and up to 20 for each of the child abuse charges.

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