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Associated Press , Published September 12 2013

ND man sentenced for killing friend

WESTHOPE, N.D. — A Westhope man accused of killing another resident of the northern North Dakota city says he was carrying out the wishes of a friend who wanted to commit suicide but was unable to pull the trigger himself.

Timothy Mundt, 49, was charged with Class AA murder in the February shooting death of Jessie Kirk, 40. He pleaded guilty Wednesday to a lesser Class A murder charge that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison rather than a life term, KXMC-TV reported (http://bit.ly/15W89Gb ).

Defense attorney William Hartl said in court that assisted suicide under North Dakota law carries only a maximum sentence of five years in prison but that his client wanted to avoid a trial.

Bottineau County State's Attorney Swain Benson said the case began as a missing persons call when Kirk had not been seen for two days. It turned into a murder investigation when Kirk's body was found in the bed of Mundt's truck.

"There was blood and body tissue in the house of Mr. Mundt; the pickup was located at Mr. Mundt's house. There was evidence the body had been drug from the house to the pickup," Benson said.

Mundt later admitted shooting Kirk in the head with a rifle at the end of a night of drinking during which Kirk had said he wanted to kill himself but could not do it alone, Benson said.

"Mr. Mundt had a firearm in his house and gave him the rifle but ... ultimately Jesse Kirk was unable to do it," he said. "Mr. Mundt indicated that at the conclusion of the evening that Mr. Mundt pulled the trigger, I guess helping his friend in his rationale."

Judge Michael Sturdevant sentenced Mundt to serve 12 ½ years in prison, with credit for the seven months he already has been incarcerated.

Kirk's father, Gail Kirk, said he wished Mundt had come to him for help.

"I though Tim Mundt was my friend but I guess I found out different," he said.

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Information from: KXMC-TV, http://www.kxnet.com


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