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Forum staff reports, Published March 26 2013

Authorities seek seizure of landlord’s Hummer

FARGO – Prosecutors want to seize a Hummer a West Fargo landlord used to run over a former tenant, an incident that landed the landlord in prison.

Alois Vetter, 75, argues prosecutors should have asked him to forfeit the vehicle earlier, as it would have affected his decision to go to trial in the assault and reckless endangerment case that ended in a jury’s guilty verdict and two years of prison time.

Vetter was required to serve two years in prison because jurors decided the Hummer constituted a dangerous weapon.

At a hearing Tuesday in Cass County District Court, Vetter’s defense attorney argued that the state should have taken the Hummer back in April 2011, when it decided to prosecute as if it were a dangerous weapon.

Richard Edinger argued that in not doing so, and not warning Vetter they might make him forfeit the Hummer in a conviction, the state made it impossible for Vetter to factor the potential loss of the $27,000 vehicle into his decision on going to trial.

Jurors convicted Vetter in October 2011, a verdict upheld by the state Supreme Court in January.

Judge Steven McCullough will rule at a later date.