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“I hope you burn in hell.”: Second man sentenced in fatal shooting of Fargo food truck owner

Kareem Byrd waves goodbye to his family after sentencing
Kareem Byrd waves goodbye to his family after sentencing(KVLY)
Published: Mar. 28, 2022 at 6:31 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The second of two men arrested and charged in the fatal shooting of a popular Fargo food truck owner nearly three years ago will spend the next 25 years in prison.

Several emotional and scathing words were handed down to 22-year-old Kareem Byrd Monday afternoon in Cass County District Court as family and friends of 38-year-old Jason Halvorson took the stand, including three people who were the first on scene moments after the shots rang out and tried to keep Halvorson alive.

“Some of the nights I can’t fall asleep because I just picture two people running away and Jason just laying there on the ground,” Darcee Erdmann said.

Erdmann and her two friends, Kristina Kirick and Roy Julkowski were supposed to have a fun, chill night at their home near downtown Fargo on June 7, 2019. The trio were having a bonfire when they say they were forced to jump over a fence to tend to a stranger’s desperate cries for help after hearing five shots ring out.

“I go to sleep and I wake up hearing that cry for help. It will never leave me. I wake up and think there’s blood all over me because of what you did that night,” Julkowski said.

“I can’t be around loud noises because I think everyone’s being shot at,” Kirick said.

“You forced three kids who didn’t know this man to clean up your mess. You left him lying in a pool of his own blood,” Julkowski added.

Many of those who spoke in court Monday in honor of Halvorson donned matching T-shirts with words Halvorson had printed on his food truck: “HUSTLE HARD NONSTOP DREAM BIG LIVE YOUR LIFE LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW.”

“Jason was fiercely kind and many people feel his absence. He didn’t deserve to die the way he did,” Halvorson’s sister, Rachel said.

“This is a loss for not only us, we’ve been sentenced to life, but also the community because Jason did so much,” Halvorson’s mom, Judy said.

Just 18 at the time of the crime, Byrd’s attorney says Byrd had never been in trouble before that June night, but stated homelessness, drugs and violence were a part of Byrd’s daily life growing up in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, Byrd’s attorney says Byrd looked to his older cousin turned co-defendant, 32-year-old Charles Harris for guidance.

“I pray every night and ask God to forgive us. And I pray for (Jason’s) family every night and I pray for mine,” a tearful Byrd said to the court Monday.

“I don’t have forgiveness in my heart. Not for you,” Jason’s friend Sharon Akin told Byrd. “I hope you think every day about the pain you have caused your own family and I hope you never find peace.”

“You took a great person out of this world. As far as I’m concerned, I hope you burn in hell,” Jason’s friend Shane Tessier said.

Byrd will be eligible for parole after 20 years. Harris pleaded guilty in March 2021 and is already serving the beginning years of his three-decade sentence.

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