Bradley Morales, Minot, is denied a new murder trial

A judge has denied a new trial for Bradley Morales, 28, Minot, who was convicted in May of the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Sharmaine Leake.

In an order filed Sept. 4, North Central District Court Judge Doug Mattson said there was sufficient evidence to convict Morales of murder.

Morales had filed a motion in June claiming he should be granted a new trial because the state had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he exhibited extreme indifference to human life when he stabbed Leake in the neck with a steak knife on Aug. 16, 2017. Morales said at trial that the stabbing was an accident and he had afterwards rendered aid to Leake and begged others to save her life.

The prosecution presented evidence that it was not an accident. According to their theory of the crime, Morales sneaked into Leake’s residence and wanted to see if she had another man there. He went up to her bedroom and the two argued because she refused to give him the password to her cell phone so he could see pictures on her phone. He slapped her and became furious when another man called Leake’s cell phone and he answered the phone. Morales told the other man to come over and fight with him. Leake ran down the stairs at some point, screaming for help. The prosecution argued that Morales grabbed a knife and chased her and stabbed her as she was trying to escape out the back door.

Leake, 25, the mother of Morales’ three young children, never regained consciousness and later died of her injuries. Morales had previously been convicted on multiple occasions of domestic violence against Leake.

Morales is scheduled to be sentenced for the murder on Sept. 28 in district court in Minot. He faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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