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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of North Dakota
For Immediate Release
Mac Schneider, United States Attorney
Contact: Terry W. Van Horn
www.justice.gov/usao-nd
Monday, November 13, 2023

St. Michael, North Dakota, Man Convicted of Second-Degree Murder and Arson

FARGO, N.D. – U.S. Attorney Mac Schneider, District of North Dakota, announced that Cody James Belgarde, 36, from St. Michael, North Dakota, was found guilty of the charges of second-degree murder and arson.

In January 2021, Belgarde shot and killed a boy who was two weeks past his seventeenth birthday. Belgarde then set fire to the house where the murder took place. After 8 days of trial and over 30 witnesses, the jury reached a verdict and found Belgrade guilty of second-degree murder and arson within Indian country. The jury acquitted Belgarde on a charge of first-degree murder.

 Belgarde faces a sentence of up to life in prison at his sentencing hearing set for March 6, 2024, at 2:30 p.m. in Fargo Courtroom 1 before Chief Judge Peter D. Welte.

“The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to combating violent crime in Indian country,” Schneider said. “This verdict is a credit to our career prosecutors and law enforcement partners at the FBI, BIA, and ATF, who relentlessly pursued justice in this tragic case.”

“During this investigation, ATF certified fire investigators conducted fire scene examinations, made the origin and cause determination and provided technical analysis of the fire scene during trial testimony,” said ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge Bradley Engelbert of the St. Paul Field Division. “Collaboration between law enforcement partners was tremendously effective and lead to the successful conclusion of this case. Hopefully, with this verdict, the family and loved ones of the victim can have some closure.”

“The FBI will not tolerate someone committing such abhorrent violence,” said FBI Minneapolis Special Agent in Charge Alvin M. Winston Jr. “Mr. Belgrade proved he has no regard for the law or for human life when he brutally murdered an innocent victim. I’m proud of the collective efforts of the FBI and our law enforcement partners to ensure this dangerous individual is held accountable.”

This case was investigated by the FBI; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation; and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The prosecutors for this case were Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori H. Conroy and U.S. Attorney Mac Schneider, District of North Dakota.

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