Emily Welker, Published January 31 2014
Fargo man pleads guilty in double homicide case
It was not the first attempt by David George Stevens, 35, of Fargo, to plead guilty.
Stevens tried at a previous hearing in Cass County District Court to enter guilty pleas to two counts of Class AA felony murder: one for the stabbing of his ex-girlfriend, Samantha Wickenheiser, the other for the man she was with on Nov. 23, Ward Allen Berg.
But Judge Steven Marquart rejected his plea at the December hearing, in which Stevens went into grisly detail about killing the pair after finding them entangled on the floor of Wickenheiser’s apartment. Stevens had recently moved out of the apartment.
Stevens told the court he and his wife, April, drove to Wickenheiser’s apartment late on the night of Nov. 22.
He said he went there originally to slash Wickenheiser’s tires, but became enraged at seeing the two, and attacked them.
Stevens also told the court in December that he suffered from repeated mental health issues and had recently lost his medical insurance coverage, which affected his ability to get treatment.
Marquart said in December that Stevens needed to undergo a psychological evaluation to see if he was competent to stand trial.
After an examination in early January, court documents say, Stevens was found fit to proceed in court by a state psychologist.
Dr. Lynn Sullivan filed a report with the court on Jan. 29 that stated Stevens had a diagnosable personality disorder that didn’t affect his ability to be in contact with reality or to control his behavior.
Nick Thornton, defense attorney for Stevens, said he wasn’t surprised at the finding that Stevens was fit to proceed.
Thornton said he felt he could communicate with his client about his case and had scheduled the December plea hearing with that in mind, although he discouraged Stevens from pleading guilty.
Cass County prosecutor Tristan Van de Streek said after Friday’s hearing that Stevens had waived whatever criminal responsibility arguments he might have been able to make before entering his guilty plea.
Marquart ordered a pre-sentence investigation for Stevens prior to his sentencing. No sentencing date has been set yet.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541