Ronald Wootan, Rolla, pleads guilty in killing of James Pochant

Sentencing set for November

ROLLA – Ronald Wootan, 51, Rolla, entered a guilty plea to a charge of manslaughter in Northeast District Court Tuesday. On Dec. 17, 2018, Wootan pleaded not guilty to a charge of murdering 26-year-old James Pochant. Sentencing on the latest plea has been set for Nov. 9 in front of Judge Anthony Benson.

The charge against Wootan alleges he shot and killed Pochant, 26, “on or about” July 31, 2018, at 605 3rd Avenue in Rolette. According to an affidavit filed with the court, additional charges against Wootan came as a result of his discharging a firearm and striking a Minot Police Department SWAT vehicle that had responded to the scene and firing into a residential area of Rolette where at least one residential dwelling was struck by a bullet.

Wootan was also charged while in custody with possession of a weapon/shard in a detention facility for allegedly fashioning a weapon using a razor blade and other parts in late August 2019.

A trial on the charges against Wootan was canceled following a plea agreement. Details of the agreement are not known. The maximum penalty for manslaughter, a felony B, is 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. Wootan remains in custody at the Heart of America Correctional facility in Rugby pending his appearance for sentencing.


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