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Forum News Service, Published January 07 2014

Spirit Lake man convicted of killing children files appeal

FARGO - A man convicted in the childhood killings of his cousins on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation is appealing the jury’s findings that he murdered them.

A jury convicted Valentino Bagola for the murders of Destiny Shaw, 9, and her 6-year-old brother, Travis DuBois Jr., at the children’s home May 21, 2011, in St. Michael, N.D. Both children were victims of multiple knife wounds.

Bagola’s attorney, Christopher Lancaster of Fargo, filed appeal papers Monday with the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, according to online court records.

The appeal comes after a jury convicted Bagola Sept. 23 for two counts of murder. Bagola was 20 years old at the time of the trial late last summer.

In December, U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson sentenced Bagola to life in prison for two counts of first-degree murder.

The murders on the Spirit Lake Reservation went unsolved for more than a year, and highlighted the plight of endangered children there.

Bagola’s life sentence was mandatory. “The barbarism of the attacks is unquestionable,” Erickson said at Bagola’s sentencing hearing.