N.D. governor signs extradition papers for Arnold kidnapping suspects

2012-02-08T09:54:00Z 2014-05-20T15:38:13Z N.D. governor signs extradition papers for Arnold kidnapping suspectsBy GREG TUTTLE gtuttle@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette
February 08, 2012 9:54 am  • 

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple has signed extradition papers submitted by Montana authorities seeking to prosecute two men for the abduction of Sidney school teacher Sherry Arnold.

Jeff Zent, a spokesman for Dalrymple, said Wednesday morning that the North Dakota governor had received and signed the extradition requests for Michael Keith Spell and Lester Vann Waters Jr. late Tuesday. Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer signed the papers Monday.

Both men remained in the Williams County jail in Williston, N.D., on Wednesday morning, according to the Williams County  Sheriff's Office. A woman at the Williams County State's Attorney's Office said the office had no comment and would not provide any information about the status of the men suspected of abducting and murdering the Montana schoolteacher.

The Williams County Clerk of Court's office said Williams and Spell remain on the court calendar for extradition hearings set for the morning of Feb. 14.

Under North Dakota law, a defendant who is subject to extradition is afforded an opportunity to appear before a judge after governor's warrants have been issued. The judge will inform the defendant of his rights, including the right to an attorney and the right to further challenge extradition proceedings.

A defendant can waive the right to further court hearings, which ends the process and opens the door for the defendant to be returned to the state where the charges are filed.

"If a hearing is not waived, the magistrate shall hold (a hearing) within 10 days after the appearance," according to North Dakota statutes. 

At the hearing, the judge can find that the warrant is valid and order the defendant turned over to the requesting state "unless the arrested person establishes by clear and convincing evidence that the arrested person is not the demanded person."

Waters and Spell have been charged in Sidney City Court with aggravated kidnapping. They are expected to be arraigned in Richland County District Court once they are returned to Montana.

Waters, 47, and Spell, 22, are accused of abducting the 43-year-old Arnold on Jan. 7 while she was on an early morning run in Sidney. Authorities have not disclosed what links the men to Arnold, who remains missing and is presumed dead.

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