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Hearing postponed for Fargo man accused of killing wife in suicide pact

Fargo police vehicles are parked at an apartment complex in the 300 Block of Prairiewood Circle South, where a woman was found dead in a garage with a man who had suffered a gunshot wound, early Saturday morning, June 2. WDAY-TV file photo

FARGO – An 85-year-old man charged with murdering his wife as part of a suicide pact did not appear at his hearing in Cass County District Court on Wednesday, July 11.

Louis Donald Averson, who suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound last month, is hospitalized outside of Fargo, and his preliminary hearing Wednesday was delayed until 1:30 p.m. Aug. 9.

According to court documents, Louis Averson and his 85-year-old wife, Ila Mae Lou Averson, entered a suicide pact and left a will on the dining room table of their south Fargo apartment.

On June 1, they went to their garage and left a car running in a failed attempt to poison themselves with carbon monoxide, court documents stated.

In the early morning of June 2, Louis Averson shot Ila Averson with a .38-caliber revolver, killing her, court documents stated. He then shot himself in the chest, but survived.

Averson was arraigned June 5 from his hospital room at Sanford Medical Center. He’s been charged with murder and faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Court records show the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation was ordered to complete a pre-sentence investigation by Thursday, July 12.

Pre-sentence investigations are often done after a defendant pleads guilty, raising the question of whether Averson is expected to plead guilty.