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Forum staff reports , Published September 03 2013

Jury seated in Spirit Lake child murder trial

FARGO – A jury was seated Tuesday in the federal trial of a man accused of murdering two Spirit Lake Nation children two years ago.

Opening statements are slated to begin Wednesday in the trial of Valentino “Tino” Bagola in U.S. District Court.

Bagola, 20, is accused of murdering siblings Destiny Jane Shaw-Dubois, 9, and her 6-year-old brother, Travis Lee DuBois, Jr., between May 18 and 21, 2011, in St. Michael, N.D.

The murders highlighted serious child abuse problems on the reservation, where officials have struggled to improve is child protection and social services over the past two years.

Bagola, who has pleaded not guilty, faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted. Prosecutors expect to conclude their case on Sept. 17, and the defense case is expected to take three or four days.