A man charged with four Class AA felony counts of murder, Omar Mohamed Kalmio, 27, appeared before Judge Douglas Matson during a Tuesday preliminary hearing at the Ward County Courthouse. The reading of murder counts two, three and four were waived at the advice of counsel.
Kalmio replied "not guilty" when asked by Mattson to respond to each individual murder charge. During an earlier appearance, the Somali national had entered a "not guilty" plea to count one, the alleged murder of 19-year-old Sabrina Zephier in Minot on Jan. 28, 2011. Tuesday's pleas were for the charges of the murders of Jolene Zephier, 38, Dillon Zephier, 13, and Jeremy Longie, 22.
"Three not guilty pleas are noted for the record," said Mattson following Kalmio's response.
Mattson then asked the attorneys present if they had any problems with the jury questionnaire that will be sent to a pool of 180 to 190 potential jurors. Both the prosecution and the defense responded the questionnaire was okay as is.
"The questionnaires will go out before the end of the week," said Mattson.
Kalmio was originally scheduled for a trial on a single count of murder, but that trial was canceled when three additional counts of murder were filed in late May. During an earlier hearing Mattson indicated he would like to have the case tried before Thanksgiving with a pre-trial conference and cautioned attorneys, "It will be hard to look for any kind of continuance."
Kim Fundingsland/MDN • Omar Mohamed Kalmio, center, entered three “not guilty” pleas to murder charges during Tuesday’s preliminary court appearance before Judge Douglas Mattson, background. Attorneys conferring with Kalmio are Kerri Rosenquist, left, and Tom Glass.
Mattson told the defense and prosecution attorneys, "I want this case to be tried before Thanksgiving."
The bodies of the deceased were discovered at two separate residences in Minot on Jan. 28, 2011. Kalmio's infant daughter was found unharmed at the residence of Sabrina Zephier.
An expanded media request was granted for the Kalmio case, meaning the media is allowed to use cameras in the courtroom for the duration of the proceedings.