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Jesse Azure, found not guilty of stabbing due to lack of criminal responsibility, is released from custody

Court records show that Jesse Reid Azure, 25, Rolla, was ordered to be released from custody on Tuesday.

Judge Doug Mattson had previously judged him not guilty of stabbing a distant relative and terrorizing the woman’s boyfriend in Minot on Jan. 29, 2019, because Azure lacked criminal responsibility for his actions. The lack of criminal responsibility finding is North Dakota’s version of the insanity defense.

Mattson had ordered Azure to be transported to the North Dakota State Hospital in January after he made the finding. Under state law, a defendant found not guilty due to lack of criminal responsibility can be held at the state hospital until he is deemed no longer a danger to himself or to the community. In some cases, defendants are released and allowed to work and live in the community and are under the supervision of the North Dakota Health and Human Services until it is proved they are no longer a danger. The length of the supervision period can extend as long as the maximum sentence for the offense. Each C felony carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Mattson scheduled a hearing on April 7 to sign a court order regarding Azure.

According to court documents and statements at a preliminary hearing last year, Azure stabbed his distant cousin five times in the head, torso, and back at a Minot residence. She told authorities that she had been asleep in her bedroom when Azure came in and stabbed her multiple times with a knife. She did not know why Azure had stabbed her. The woman was treated for her injuries at Trinity Hospital and was in stable condition after the attack. The woman’s boyfriend told authorities that he had been in another room with his child when he heard his girlfriend screaming for help. He ran into the room and saw Azure standing over her with the knife. The man told authorities that Azure charged at him with the knife but he was able to maneuver Azure away from him. Azure then grabbed the woman’s car keys and drove off in her car.

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