Prosecutors charge man with stabbing deaths of ex-girlfriend and boyfriend at Fargo apartment

  • Article by: DAVE KOLPACK , Associated Press
  • Updated: November 25, 2013 - 3:35 PM

FARGO, N.D. — A man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend in Fargo over the weekend told dispatchers as he waited for police to arrive that he stabbed them in her apartment, investigators said in court documents released Monday.

David Stevens, 35, is charged with two counts of murder in the early Saturday morning stabbing deaths of Samantha Wickenheiser, 23, of Fargo, and Ward Berg, 30, of neighboring Moorhead, Minn. The charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole.

Stevens appeared in East Central District Court in Fargo Monday on a video feed from the Cass County Jail. He looked away from the camera while assistant prosecutor Tristan Van De Streek read a litany of Stevens' criminal convictions in Kentucky, Texas, North Carolina, Kansas, Minnesota and North Dakota.

When Judge Steve Marquart asked Stevens about Van De Streek's request for $1 million cash bail, Stevens said, "That sounds great."

Marquart assigned attorney Nick Thornton to be Stevens' public defender. Thornton said Monday said he hadn't seen any of the court files or police reports so he could not comment.

"We may or may not have a statement later," Thornton said. "There's a presumption of innocence, so we're going to gather all the information we need to provide him the best defense we can."

A preliminary hearing is set for Dec. 27.

Officers responded shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday to a report that a woman said she had been stabbed. As officers were arriving on the scene, Stevens told dispatchers over the phone that he stabbed the two victims and said Wickenheiser was "out in the parking lot dead," according to court documents.

The bodies of Wickenheiser and Berg were found outside the apartment. Police said Wickenheiser had a serrated knife lodged in the left side of her head.

Police said that Wickenheiser was the mother of at least one of Stevens' children.

Court documents show that the suspect's wife, April Stevens, told police she and her husband drove from Brookings, S.D., late Friday because he said he wanted to pick up clothing from the apartment where he lived with his former girlfriend. David Stevens told dispatchers he had brought a knife with him for protection.

April Stevens said her husband got out of the vehicle after they arrived at the apartment. About two minutes later, she said, Wickenheiser, covered in blood, tried to get into the car. April Stevens told police later that the victim did not have a knife lodged in her head.

She said she drove out of the parking lot and parked in front of the building. She later flagged down an officer and told her that Wickenheiser had approached her car.

The officer found Wickenheiser in the parking lot north of the apartment. Berg's body was discovered across the street. Police said vans in the parking lot that belonged by Wickenheiser and Berg each had a slashed tire.

David Stevens was taken to a hospital for a cut on his wrist and cuts on his legs, investigators said. He was then taken to the Fargo Police Department, where he told detectives he would not make a statement.

It's not clear if Stevens was living in Brookings. Burdick said that while Stevens had a connection to North Dakota, the state's attorney is "not sure how strong his attachment is today."

"I have a limited amount of information available right now," Burdick said. "The police have done a great deal of investigative work but they're still in the process of preparing all the reports for our review."

The deaths were the second and third homicides in Fargo this year. Ronald Rogers was sentenced to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to shooting and killing his wife, Elizabeth Rogers, in February.

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