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Look back on developments in Vickerman murder trial, guilty verdict

Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 4:25 PM CST
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MINOT, N.D. – It took a jury of 12 less than an hour after reconvening Monday morning to return a guilty verdict against 31-year-old Christopher Vickerman in the 2019 shooting death of his father, Mark Vickerman.

State prosecutors say Christopher shot and killed his father in Mark’s northwest Minot home on May 10, 2019.

Christopher was arrested a day later, then waited almost two years before his case went to trial.

Prosecutors painted a picture of a rocky relationship between a father and son.

“It’s a case where his son became angry with his father. It’s also a case about a son blaming his father for his own failures,” said Roza Larson, Ward County’s state’s attorney during opening statements.

At first, Christopher’s defense said that he could not be held responsible due to mental health concerns at the time of the murder.

“There are two prongs to the mental health defense, either one of which defeats the charge. There is no criminal responsibility,” said Robert Martin, Christopher’s defense attorney.

But, just four days into the trial, Christopher changed his plea, dropping the lack of criminal responsibility provision, and throwing the prosecution team for a loop, but they knew the evidence they had was solid.

“It was the surveillance video with it inside the home where we had video of Christopher coming in and picking up the shell casings, so we had his pants, we had his shoes and then the gun that was hidden in his apartment and the clothes that we saw, were gone. To me, it was a circumstantial case, but a very strong circumstantial case,” said Larson.

The jury agreed. After less than five hours of deliberation between two days, the jury came back with a guilty verdict.

The defense ordered a pre-sentencing investigation to include a chemical and psychological evaluation.

The state expects results in two to three months.

Christopher Vickerman now faces the chance of life in prison without parole.

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