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Kevin Bonham, Forum News Service, Published February 04 2014

Finley woman held in husband's death; murder charge could carry life without parole

FINLEY, N.D. – A longtime resident of this small town, Sherry Midstokke, is being held in a Fargo jail on suspicion of murdering her husband early Monday in a case that has “shaken the whole county,” the local sheriff said Tuesday.

Midstokke, 60, is being held on a Class AA felony count of intentional murder, according to the website of the Cass County Jail in Fargo. She apparently has not appeared yet in court on the charge.

State court records online do not indicate yet that the charge has been formally filed.

The count carries a top penalty of life in prison without parole on conviction.

Midstokke called 911 about 7:30 a.m. Monday and officers responding found the body of Lyle Midstokke, 66, in a bedroom in their home, said Steele County Sheriff Wayne Beckman.

His body was sent to Grand Forks for an autopsy, and Sherry Midstokke was arrested on suspicion of his murder.

Lyle Midstokke, a Vietnam veteran who grew up in the county, was well-liked in the community.

“It’s very shocking,” Beckman said. “It’s shaken the whole county.”

The death is believed to be the first in Steele County in 75 or 80 years, Beckman said.

Sherry Midstokke worked as a certified nursing assistant at a facility in Aneta.

Beckman said he didn’t expect results from the autopsy for several days and released few other details about the case.

He said the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation is helping his department on the case.

Steele County does not have a jail and typically sends male inmates to Traill County’s jail in Hillsboro and female inmates to Fargo or Valley City.

The county is part of the same judicial district as Cass and Traill counties.

Midstokke is expected to appear in court today.


Stephen J. Lee contributed to this report.