Trial opens over gruesome killing of 4 in North Dakota

FARGO (AP) — An attorney for a man accused in the gruesome killings of four people at a North Dakota property management firm said Wednesday that the case amounts to a rush to judgment based on bad information that led to the wrong conclusion. A prosecutor, though, said every piece of the puzzle leads to the defendant.

Chad Isaak, 47, of Washburn, is on trial for the April 1, 2019, deaths of RJR Maintenance & Management co-owner Robert Fakler, 52, and co-workers Adam Fuehrer, 42, and spouses Bill and Lois Cobb, 50 and 45. He pleaded not guilty to four counts of murder and three other counts.

It was one of the most heinous crimes in North Dakota history, defense attorney Bruce Quick acknowledged in his opening statement. Three of the victims were shot and stabbed. Combined, the four of them were stabbed about 100 times.

Prosecutor Karlei Neufeld began the trial being livestreamed from Mandan by describing the horrific crime scene and said evidence would include photos, surveillance video, lab reports, bullet fragments, and a knife and other things found during searches of the suspect’s home and vehicle.

“Each piece of evidence you will receive in this case will be like a piece of a puzzle,” Neufeld told the jury. “And … as you start putting them together, you’ll be able to see a clear picture of what took place.”