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Emily Welker, Published May 01 2014

Fargo man sentenced to 24 years plus probation in drug-related murder

FARGO – A Fargo man was sentenced Thursday in Cass County District Court to 24 years in prison and a year of supervised probation after pleading guilty to the drug-related murder of another man here in mid-March.

Wade Anthony Garrett, 19, was sentenced for the murder of 26-year-old Rolandas House near the Cash Wise supermarket in south Fargo on March 14.

As part of his plea deal, Garrett must testify against a Moorhead father and his two children who are also charged in the murder.

Arlen Clapper, 46, his daughter Tamara, 22, and her brother Alexander, 19, all of Moorhead, were charged in April after Garrett told Fargo police investigators that the family planned with him to lure House to a sham drug deal and rob him in retaliation for stealing money and drugs from them.

Garrett testified at his plea hearing last month that Alexander Clapper gave him a knife before Garrett went to meet House at the fake drug deal, telling him, “Use it if you have to.”

Garrett testified that he chased House with his car, and when he got out of the car he fought with House, stabbing him at least four times, killing him.

At Thursday’s sentencing hearing, Garrett confirmed that he would continue to tell his story at future court proceedings against the Clappers.

His family members said after court that they were proud of him for accepting responsibility in House’s death.

His grandfather, Wylie Garrett, said Wade Garrett was a basically good kid who got caught up with the drug trade.

He hoped his grandson would be able to turn his life around once his prison sentence was completed.

Prosecutor Tristan Van de Streek said Garrett’s case was unusual in the speed with which it was resolved.

“It’s very uncommon in a murder case for someone to plead guilty this early,” he said. “It was well-investigated.”

Van de Streek could not comment on whether he expected the three remaining defendants to resolve their cases as speedily, saying only that prosecutors are confident in their cases against the Clappers.

“This is just a tragic set of circumstances,” said Steve Mottinger, Wade Garrett’s attorney, in court.

“One thing piled on top of another that ended in a very bad result,” he said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541