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ND judge orders guns returned to man acquitted of murder

Lamar Putney testifies at his trial on two counts of murder in February. Putney was acquitted on both charges. The prosecution and defense recently argued about which guns seized from his apartment should be returned. Jamie Kelly / Williston Herald

WILLISTON, N.D.—A judge ordered Tuesday, April 17, that prosecutors and police return guns seized nearly two years ago from a man acquitted in February of murder, but declined to order sanctions against a prosecutor like the defense requested.

After the hearing, Northwest District Judge Kirsten Sjue ruled that the guns seized from Lamar Putney in May 2016, when he was accused of killing two men in his apartment, should be returned. She had ordered the guns returned in early February, on the day a jury acquitted Putney on two counts of murder, but several days later, prosecutors filed a motion asking for a hearing to determine whether Putney owned all the guns.

That motion prompted Jeff Nehring, Putney's defense attorney, to accuse Nathan Madden, the Williams County assistant state's attorney who handled the case, of harassing Putney. He asked Sjue to order Madden to pay Putney for the time Nehring had to spend preparing for the hearing.

Madden claimed in his motion that there was no record of ownership for some of the guns and that during the trial, Putney and his attorneys had objected to all of the guns being characterized as belonging to Putney.

Three guns have been returned to a witness in the case, Regina Mallard, Madden said. Mallard, who was Putney's girlfriend at the time of the shooting, was present when Diandre Lott and Donzell Washington were shot and killed.

Putney claimed at trial that the two men were trying to rob him and he shot them in self-defense.

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