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State and defense attorneys react to Chad Isaak guilty verdict

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 5:31 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - After state and defense attorneys spent years of preparation and three long weeks of calling witnesses and presenting evidence, we heard the outcome: guilty.

Prosecutors say they were relieved to hear the verdict come back guilty on all counts.

“We took some time with the victims’ families, and I think that they’re feeling the same way. It hasn’t been an easy road, it’s been two and a half years, but it’s been a steady one for us. And I think that today the verdict just validated the thoroughness of the investigation and the whole process from start to finish,” said Prosecution Attorney Gabrielle Goter.

When we spoke to defense attorneys, they kept their thoughts of the outcome of the trial to themselves.

“A fair trial by an unbiased jury is the greatest device ever conceived for an individual citizen to hold his or her government accountable to the constitutional promises made to all of us. And in this case, we have done the best to zealously advocate for our client,” said Defense Attorney Jesse Walstad.

The conviction came without the State posing a motive.

“That’s I think where people struggle too; they want to know why. So ... it’s something that you can’t say ‘this necessarily caused that,’ because there is no ‘necessarily’ in this case. It wasn’t a case of self-defense, it wasn’t an argument gone wrong, it was premeditated murder and there’s no excuse for that,” said Goter.

At the verdict, Judge David Reich ordered a presentencing investigation which will include victim impact statements and allow the court a deeper look into Isaak’s life.

“Like all of us, he’s lived a full life. There’s a story to tell there. That story didn’t play a prominent role in this case, but it absolutely plays a prominent role in sentencing,” said Walstad.

There is no word yet on whether Isaak will seek to appeal the case, but Isaak’s attorneys say they will meet with Isaak next week to discuss his options under the law.

A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the presentencing investigation is complete. Isaak could face life in prison without the opportunity for parole.

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