Justices deny appeal for man convicted of kidnapping and murdering man in Burleigh County

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 8:57 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - A man convicted of kidnapping and killing another man in Burleigh County has lost an appeal.

In 2012, John Bridges, now 52, was convicted of murder and kidnapping for forcing another man, Lee Clay, into his van and killing him.

A district judge sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murder and 20 additional years for kidnapping. Bridges also pleaded guilty to attempted murder and received an additional 40 years for stabbing a correctional officer at the North Dakota State Penitentiary in 2013.

In 2019, Bridges filed for postconviction relief saying he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and had received ineffective legal assistance.

The appellate court determined that Bridge’s mental state and competency were appropriately evaluated during his case. A psychologist testified that Bridges’ mental state was not consistent with any disorder that would “cause a loss or serious distortion of reality or render him unable to not know that what he was doing was wrong.”

The Supreme Court justices affirmed the lower court order, saying his claim was without merit. They denied his request for appeal in December 2021.

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