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Suspect out on bail in Anita Knutson killing had prior bail jumping charge

34-year-old Nichole Rice
34-year-old Nichole Rice(none)
Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 7:31 PM CDT
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MINOT, N.D. – Your News Leader is learning new details about the suspect charged in Anita Knutson’s 2007 death, including a prior incident of bail jumping.

This comes as the suspect bonded out of the Ward County Jail last Thursday on the murder charge.

According to a 2012 affidavit from McHenry County Court, 34-year-old Nichole Rice, then known as Nichole Bakken, failed to appear in court in McHenry County after pleading guilty to two counts of issuing checks without sufficient funds at the beginning 2012.

She was ordered to serve six months of unsupervised probation and pay court fees and fines

McHenry County issued a bench warrant in May 2012 after Bakken did not appear in court or pay the fees and fines.

In December of 2012, Bakken was charged with an a misdemeanor for bail jumping. Bakken plead guilty in 2013 to the charge and was ordered to complete 30 hours of community service, one year of unsupervised probation and pay court fees and fines.

After remarrying years later, Bakken took the last name of Rice.

Rice is being charged on a AA felony murder in the 15-year-old Knutson case.

Knutson was Rice’s roommate at the time of her death.

Last week, Rice was arrested and taken into custody at the Ward County Jail.

During her first court appearance, North Central Judge Richard Hagar set Rice’s bond at $120,000 cash or a $250,000 surety bond. Hagar said that she had significant ties to the Minot area, making her less of a flight risk.

Several hours after the bond was set, Rice posted bond and left the jail.

She is scheduled to be arraigned April 21 in the Knutson case.

Your News Leader has reached out to Rice’s defense attorney Philip Becher, as well as state’s attorney Roza Larson. Your News Leader is awaiting response from both.

Last Friday, Judge Hagar’s office said the judge declined to comment. The Minot Police Department have also declined to comment on her bail.

Related content:

Arrest made in connection with 2007 death of Minot State student Anita Knutson

UPDATE: suspect charged in killing of Anita Knutson posts bond, as new details emerge in investigation

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