West Fargo standoff suspect appeals conviction that led to 23-year sentence
FARGO — A man sentenced to 23 years behind bars for his conviction on attempted murder and other charges connected to an armed standoff with police at a West Fargo hotel in 2016 is appealing his case to the North Dakota Supreme Court.
Jan-Michel Wangstad's defense attorney will give oral arguments on the appeal at a hearing before the state Supreme Court set for Sept. 6.
Documents filed in the appeal contend that evidence prosecutors presented at Wangstad's trial in Cass County District Court late in 2017 included anti-law Facebook posts that were introduced despite the defense's objection.
The appeal says admitting the posts as evidence was an error and asserts the jury was not informed and was also misinformed regarding the essential elements of the crime of attempted murder.
The appeal also argues the evidence presented at trial was not sufficient to warrant a finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The prosecution filed a brief, about 30 pages long, in response to the appeal. It says the appeal fails to establish any error in the case and that the conviction on the attempted murder charge should be upheld.
The case stemmed from an incident in March 2016 when West Fargo police were dispatched to the Rodeway Inn on a report of suspicious behavior.
When officers reached Wangstad's room, he pulled a gun from his waistband and fired the weapon, according to court papers. A standoff ensued, and Wangstad eventually surrendered.
Wangstad was convicted at trial of attempted murder, and he pleaded guilty to charges of terrorizing and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
He was sentenced to a total of 23 years.