FARGO — One of two men accused in the killing of a local food truck operator is headed for trial.

Charles Edward Harris III, of Fargo, appeared in Cass County District Court on Wednesday, Oct. 16, and attorneys agreed to a four-day jury trial slated for January.

Harris and his co-defendant, Kareem Lee Byrd Jr., have each pleaded not guilty to felony charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the death of 38-year-old Jason “Jay” Allen Halvorson in June.

About 1 a.m. on June 7, Halvorson was fatally shot near his food truck, Texas Q BBQ and Catering, in the parking lot of the former Sahr’s Sudden Service station at 601 4th St. N. in Fargo.

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Before Wednesday’s hearing, the defense filed documents about a possible expert witness who may testify in court.

Clinical psychologist Sara Quam might be called as a witness to help "the jury in understanding the defendant’s emotional, cognitive and psychological condition at the time of the alleged crime,” court papers stated.

Josh Loos, a Fargo detective, spoke at previous hearings for both Harris and Byrd, detailing the investigation into the shooting.

Loos said a witness told authorities he encountered two men the morning of the shooting near the service station where he was walking his dog. The witness told authorities he saw the two men walk toward the food truck and lost sight of them before he heard gunfire.

Loos said Byrd told investigators he and Harris were involved in a verbal confrontation with Halvorson and that Halvorson said some “racially motivated” things. Byrd allegedly told police both he and Harris shot Halvorson, according to Loos.

Kareem Byrd appears in Cass County District Court on Sept. 18 for a preliminary hearing on charges connected to the fatal shooting of Jay Halvorson in June. Forum file photo
Kareem Byrd appears in Cass County District Court on Sept. 18 for a preliminary hearing on charges connected to the fatal shooting of Jay Halvorson in June. Forum file photo

A law enforcement officer later stopped a minivan with Harris and Byrd among its passengers. A backpack containing a 9 mm handgun and a .22 caliber revolver were found in the minivan.

Harris denied any knowledge of the shooting when first questioned, but later told investigators that Byrd told him he had used the guns to shoot someone, according to Loos.

Byrd and Harris remain in Cass County Jail. Byrd has a court hearing set for Thursday, Oct. 17.

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