Suspect in Minot murder conspiracy appears in court

Donald Cooper, Jr.
Donald Cooper, Jr.(KFYR-TV)
Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 6:49 PM CDT
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MINOT, N.D. – Donald Cooper, Jr. appeared in district court in Minot for what was supposed to be his preliminary hearing and arraignment Thursday afternoon.

The 28-year-old Cooper is being charged as an accomplice to the January 2020 murder of Dominick Stephens.

He fled to Wisconsin and while fleeing U.S. Marshals in April 2020, he killed two other people in a vehicle crash.

Cooper was sentenced to 25 years in prison for their deaths and was extradited back to Minot this May.

He faces four felony charges including a AA felony.

Cooper showed up with no attorney. Cooper has had public defense counsel and a private counsel  in the past but both are no longer on the case.

Judge Gary Lee told Cooper he would move back the preliminary hearing one last time, but Cooper has to have counsel at the next appearance or they will continue without one.

Lee also questioned the second count regarding accomplice to murder with extreme indifference after a recent state supreme court case ruling that showed it the act had to be intentional.

“Why wouldn’t the same rule perhaps apply to accomplice to murder? It seems to be the direction that the supreme court is going. This is a AA felony for crying out loud. I think Mr. Cooper needs to know exactly what he is being charged with,” said Lee.

Cooper will be back in court Nov. 19.

Two other men have already pleaded out and have been sentenced in Stephens’ death.

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