Calif. Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Murder Charges

One of the four California men charged with conspiracy to commit murder in a July 2013 shooting in Minot is changing his plea to guilty.

James Robinson Jr. will go right to sentencing after striking a plea deal with the state.

Court documents say that on July 21, 2013, Robinson and three other men--Thomas Dumas, Calvin Rodgers Jr. and Charles Tomlin--traveled from Dickinson to Minot.

The men were looking to settle a score, or take care of a man they believed had beaten an acquaintance of theirs at the Blind Duck Bar in Minot the evening before.

The group went to a northwest Minot apartment where they believed the man they were looking for lived, and opened fire through the front window. The man they wanted did not live there anymore, and they wounded the current tenant, Christopher Docher.

Deputy State's Attorney Kelly Dillon recalled the events of the night in court Tuesday morning.

"A resident at 700 Walden St. reported that her neighbor had been shot in the neck," Dillon told the court. "The first officers on scene found Christopher Docher lying on the ground, bleeding from the neck wound."

"The state will be amending the charge to conspiracy, a non-85 percent crime," said Robinson's attorney Steven Mottinger. "We have entered into a plea agreement for a nine-year sentence. No probation at the end of that, unless he would be paroled early."

Robinson told Judge Douglas Mattson he felt he was set up two of the other men, but agreed to the deal to avoid further jail time.

"I didn't shoot that man. I wasn't there," he told the judge. "Rodgers and Thomas, they put this whole thing on me."

Robinson later said: "There's no telling which way it will go, and it's not worth me taking a chance at doing the rest of my life in prison."

The judge ordered a pre-sentence investigation.

Dumas and Rogers have pretrial conferences scheduled for October 7.

Tomlin pleaded guilty to a different charge for his role in the incident.​