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North Dakota faces first execution in over 100 years

[JURIST] A federal jury in North Dakota sentenced a man convicted of kidnapping and murdering a college student to the death penalty [JURIST news archive] Friday after almost two days of deliberation. Convicted sex offender Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. was originally charged [indictment, text] under federal law in the US District Court for the District of North Dakota [official website] for taking Dru Sjodin over state lines. The state of North Dakota abolished the death penalty in 1973, though it can result in federal cases [CDN backgrounder]; Rodriguez's execution would mark the first in the state since a hanging in 1905 [SCND backgrounder].

Following the announcement of the jury's decision, several elected officials said the federal sentence may prompt the North Dakota legislature to consider reviving the death penalty, last debated in the state Senate in 1995. Gov. John Hoeven (R-ND) [official profile] described the verdict as a "just sentence" [press release] and reportedly said he would support a death penalty proposal but does not plan to include one in his 2007 budget. AP has more.

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