FARGO — One of two men accused of killing a food truck owner this summer in Fargo is headed for a jury trial, but the start date will be later than expected after the trial was accidentally set for the week of a federal holiday.
Charles Edward Harris III, who's pleaded not guilty to felony charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, was slated for trial in January in Cass County District Court. The court accidentally scheduled the trial to start Jan. 21, which is the Tuesday after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Judge Wade Webb said Monday, Oct. 28.
The courthouse will be closed on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, meaning staff either would have had to rush to prepare for the trial to start Tuesday or the trial would have extended into the following week.
The earliest date the trial could start is March 3, Webb said. He apologized for the mistake, and Harris said through his attorney he would be OK with the delay.
Harris, 30, of Fargo, and Kareem Lee Byrd, 20, of Moorhead, face the same charges in the death of 38-year-old Jason “Jay” Allen Halvorson. He was fatally shot about 1 a.m. June 7 near his food truck, Texas Q BBQ and Catering, which was in the parking lot of the former Sahr’s Sudden Service station at 601 4th St. N.
Byrd has pleaded not guilty to his charges. A trial has not been set, but his attorney has filed a motion to suppress evidence obtained during what the defense has called an unlawful traffic stop shortly after the shooting. Among the evidence obtained were two guns found in the stopped vehicle, authorities said.
Byrd has been ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation to determine his criminal responsibility for the alleged crime.
Harris’ attorney is expected to call a doctor to testify about his cognitive, psychological and emotional state during the incident. Harris' next court hearing is Dec. 19.
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